OAKLAND, California - The Blue Jays and Athletics were playing the second inning of Wednesday's getaway day game at the Coliseum when the 4 p.m. ET trade deadline passed.
Back in his Toronto war room, general manager Alex Anthopoulos stood pat.
"You don't want to make a deal for the sake of making a deal," said Anthopoulos. "You can trade anybody at any time. I mean, every GM can make trades at this time of year but you have to feel good about it and you have to feel like it makes sense."
Anthopoulos said he made progress on two possible trades, one last week and another which fell apart on Tuesday morning. Starting pitching and middle infield help were his focus, although Anthopoulos characterized as "completely false" the names linked to the Blue Jays in various media reports.
The general manager prides himself on keeping his cards close to his vest.
"As we have each year we got asked about a lot of our players," said Anthopoulos. "I can say the two things that we were hopeful, optimistic, or the things that we tried to do did not ever once get out there in the media. They were not ever in the rumour mills."
It's believed Anthopoulos fielded numerous calls on the availability of his relievers. The Blue Jays' bullpen has had a stellar season, leading the majors with more than 371 innings pitched while ranking ninth in ERA (3.20.)
It was thought, at the very least, Toronto would peddle left-hander Darren Oliver, who at age 42 and 20 years into his big league career lacks a World Series ring. Such a move would have done right by a long time pro seeking one last chance at a championship.
No deal emerged and it seems the ratio of supply and demand was out of whack.
"In general terms the left-handed relief market, overall, I think there were a lot of players out there that were available to other teams," said Anthopoulos. "I think you only saw one team in the last two or three days acquire a left-hander and that was the Indians.
"I just don't know that there was the demand out there," Anthopoulos continued. "You didn't see a lot of left-handed relievers traded and I'm pretty aware of what players were available on the other teams and there were quite a number of left-handed relievers available for trade, many with expiring contracts and you just didn't see them move."
Following a 5-2, 10-inning win over Oakland which secured a series victory over the American League West-leading Athletics, players and manager were pleased the group had been kept together.
"I don't think anybody expected us to make a move in here," said R.A. Dickey. "We have the team in here, at least the nucleus in here, that's going to get it done one way or the other. There's always time to add. It's not like this is the end of any move that you could make so I'm sure Alex is out there rustling the bushes around, seeing what's going on."
"To be truthful we weren't worried about the trade deadline," said manager John Gibbons. "Some of those guys out there that saw their names in print might have thought so but this is our team, we like it and (we have to) play good baseball from here on out."
Anthopoulos loathes deadline day, just last week likening the final, chaotic push to last-minute Christmas shopping. He prefers the foundation for a trade to be laid no later than the night of July 30.
Don't mistake the Blue Jays' standing pat for Anthopoulos being satisfied with his club's 50-57 record.
"I mean there's no question we need to make improvements, we need to get better," said Anthopoulos. "The results and the standings speak for themselves. We certainly are going to need to improve, I mean, that goes without saying. There are times of the year when you have a chance to do that, when teams are engaged and general managers are engaged and this trade deadline certainly is one. Certain offseason periods, GM's meetings and the winter meetings are obviously another area for trades and obviously you have free agency as well."
Trades can be made through August 31, with acquired players eligible for playoff rosters. However, players must first pass through revocable waivers before they can be dealt.
CECIL NOTCHES FIRST CAREER SAVE
Casey Janssen pitched the ninth inning of a 2-2 game on Wednesday in Oakland.
So when the Blue Jays scored three times in a lengthy top of the 10th, manager John Gibbons turned to Brett Cecil to close out the game.
He pitched a three up, three down inning for his first career big league save.
"If you're a reliever and you don't want to close games than you don't belong here," said Cecil. "I sure as heck do. Nothing against Janssen but hopefully we have more games like that so I can get some more."
Cecil last was a closer when he pitched for the University of Maryland in 2007.