Anthopoulos: Marlins trade almost fell apart

Toronto Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos said the massive 12-player deal with the Miami Marlins almost never came to fruition because of his reluctance to part with Jeff Mathis for John Buck.

Anthopoulos admitted the deal fell apart for five or six hours because of his loyalty to Mathis, but told Prime Time Sports on Sportsnet 590 The Fan Tuesday evening he “couldn’t let this deal fall through because of those two players.”

The Blue Jays GM, who has been extremely busy this off-season, explained that originally the team was only inquiring about Josh Johnson but one thing led to another.

“Basically they asked for a price for Johnson that was really steep.” So negotiations began and it resulted in the blockbuster deal that was officially approved by the MLB on Monday.

Anthopoulos added that Johnson is “very open to staying here (long-term)” and added he’s confident ownership will put up the money if needed.

One sticking point to the deal was the inclusion of Emilio Bonafacio. Anthopoulos said he “wouldn’t do the deal without him” and added that he and Jose Reyes, whom he loves, are high intensity players that will affect the attitude of the entire team.

On Tuesday, the Blue Jays introduced John Gibbons as their new manager and Anthopoulos said the whole thing came together rather quickly.

Anthopoulos admitted Gibbons was “not in his head” at the start of the managerial search.

“You never think about someone that’s been here before,” Anthopoulos said. “John’s always been in my mind to have some role in this organization.”

But after the Marlins deal and the signing of Melky Cabrera, Anthopoulos began thinking Gibbons would be a good fit as manager.

“The more I thought about it, it made all the sense in the world. … I know John the human being, I know what he brings as a manager. I always thought Gibby deserved a chance to manage again.”

Anthopoulos also said he was more confident with hiring Gibbons than any other transaction he’s made. The only reservation he had was how the move would look, but ultimately decided it wasn’t important what others thought if he felt he was the right fit for the Blue Jays.

Gibbons also joined PTS to discuss how he ended up back in Toronto.

Gibbons returns to the Blue Jays after managing the team from 2004 to 2008.

“This all came together so fast,” Gibbons said.

The 50-year-old was expecting to interview for a coaching job when Anthopoulos called him and wasn’t expecting to be offered a manager position, but added he couldn’t have picked a better time to come back considering the moves the team has recently made.

Gibbons considers himself to be the type of manager that can adjust to whatever type of roster he has.

“You take what you have and try to maximize it.”

He’s also looking forward to being reunited with Cabrera, whom he worked with in 2011 with the Kansas City Royals.

“I love the guy. He brings energy; he’s a very productive player. In crunch time, he’s one of the guys you want at the plate. It caught me off-guard what happened in San Francisco. The bottom line is he can still hit.”

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