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Anthopoulos to be 'open-minded' at Deadline

Anthopoulos to be 'open-minded' at Deadline

TORONTO -- Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos said no one is untouchable when it comes to trade talks, which are expected to generate more and more fanfare as the All-Star break and the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline approaches.

Speaking to reporters prior to the Blue Jays' 7-4 win over the Brewers on Wednesday, Anthopoulos said he'd take an "open-minded" approach if given the opportunity to land All-Star talent.

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"With respect to a certain player, it's easy to say, 'Yeah, we wouldn't.' But for the right player, I think you'd have to talk about anybody," said Anthopoulos. "Unless we know we have the best player at a given spot, you can always. I think you're better off to be as open-minded as you can.

"And even though some players with the asking price, and what you would want, and how reluctant you would be to move them, make themselves basically untouchable at that point, I think ultimately you'll just tell clubs, 'Look, we're really reluctant. It would be really hard to move [this player]."

Prevailing opinion from fans, media and analysts alike this season has suggested the American League East-leading Blue Jays are in need of improvement in their starting rotation and at second base.

Prior to fracturing his right index finger, third baseman Brett Lawrie had been logging plenty of innings at second base in the absence of an everyday player at that position. But despite his versatility, Anthopoulos said the club still considers Lawrie a lock at third.

"Brett's our third baseman," Anthopoulos said. "He's got the positional flexibility to play all over the place. Same way that in Interleague, sometimes [Edwin] Encarnacion will play third, things like that. Brett's a third baseman, but we needed him to fill in at times this year to help the team win, and he's been great."

So where are the Blue Jays looking to upgrade? Without getting into specifics, Anthopoulos said the club is prepared to improve at any and every position.

Starting pitching?

"The rotation has done a good job for us, but if there's someone that's clearly an upgrade, we'd do that as well," Anthopoulos said.

Relief pitching?

"The bullpen could get better, certainly," Anthopoulos said.

Offense?

"If we can get better, we'd do that," Anthopoulos said. "I know I just basically ran through the entire team, but that's really it. We're not looking at any spots and saying we're not open to something if a player can make us better."

There was also some optimism that Triple-A hurler No. 1 prospect Aaron Sanchez could contribute down the stretch, either as a starter or in a relief role.

Sanchez had been experiencing some control problems this season, but has recently changed his arm slot, which is helping him find the strike zone, said Anthopoulos.

"To me, if he can do it again, I'm convinced that they got him right on track and he'll be ready if we have a need," Anthopoulos said.

With a little less than a month before the Deadline, there's still a lot that can change, and Anthopoulos doesn't believe there are many "true sellers" at this point. And beyond that, finding the right trade partner can be as tough as finding a needle in a haystack, he said.

"There's a certain market and a price point in July, and it's about alternatives. You don't have free agency to turn to," Anthopoulos said. "The only area to improve is by trade, but again, there may be a limited demand, because not every team is in it, not every team is going to take on contracts, not every team has the assets."

Jamie Ross is an associate reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

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