TORONTO -- Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos got his man. After coming up empty in attempts to pry prospect Anthony Gose away from the Phillies, Toronto finally acquired the center fielder on Thursday.
Only, Gose came from the Astros.
Earlier in the day, the Astros received three players -- Gose included -- from the Phillies in exchange for pitcher Roy Oswalt. The Blue Jays quickly stepped in and sent first-base prospect Brett Wallace to Houston in order to add Gose to Toronto's farm system.
"This is a player that we've been fond of for a while," general manager Alex Anthopoulos said.
In December, the Blue Jays sent ace pitcher Roy Halladay to the Phillies in exchange for a package of prospects that included pitcher Kyle Drabek, catcher Travis d'Arnaud and outfielder Michael Taylor. Toronto then flipped Taylor to the A's for Wallace.
Anthopoulos wanted Gose in the deal, and the rookie GM kept at it.
"He was part of the Roy Halladay talks in the winter," Anthopoulos said. "We were unsuccessful in acquiring him there. We inquired about him again in Spring Training and we're unsuccessful in acquiring him there. Even during the season [we inquired about him]."
Within the past week, Anthopoulos was still trying to convince the Phillies to part ways with the speedy outfielder. When discussions with Philadelphia broke down once again, the Blue Jays turned to the Astros and continued to explore a way to add Gose.
Houston asked for Wallace.
|The Astros traded Roy Oswalt on Thursday to the Phillies for J.A. Happ, Anthony Gose and Jonathan Villar. Houston quickly flipped Gose to the Blue Jays for first baseman Brett Wallace. Here's some more detailed information on Gose, an outfielder the Jays have been interested in for some time:|
Gose, who will turn 20 on Aug. 10, was selected in the second round of the 2008 Draft by the Phillies out of the Southern California high school scene. In his first full season, Gose was a South Atlantic League All-Star, playing nearly all year at age 18. He led the Minor Leagues with 76 stolen bases, though he was caught 20 times.
Moving up to the Class A Advanced Florida State League this year, Gose has found the art of stealing bases to be a bit tougher. He does have 36 steals, but has been caught 27 times. He was hitting .263/.325/.385 at the time of the trade.
Still very wiry, Gose will need to add some strength in order to keep moving up. Some who have seen him recently feel he will mature physically and be an average hitter with slightly below-average power when all is said and done. He plays a plus center field defensively and has a plus, plus arm -- he was clocked in the mid-to-upper 90s off the mound in high school. He should be an above-average to plus defender all-around when he reaches the highest level. He's the epitome of the raw, toolsy athlete the Phillies have loved drafting over the years.
-- Jonathan Mayo
"We thought long and hard about this," Anthopoulos said. "We tried to find ways to make this trade without including Brett Wallace, but the Astros were pretty adamant that Brett was going to need to be part of this, and we ultimately made the decision. We felt this was the right move for us."
Gose, who turns 20 on Aug. 10, has hit .263 with four home runs, 17 doubles, 11 triples and swiped 36 bases in 103 games for Class A Clearwater this season. The outfielder was selected by the Phillies in the second round (51st overall) in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft.
The way Anthopoulos sees it, Gose has the potential to be an impact center fielder in the future. He is not close to being ready for the Majors like Wallace -- one of baseball's top corner infield prospects -- but Anthopoulos felt the organization's depth in center field was thin.
"It's a premium position," Anthopoulos said, "and an athletic center fielder with outstanding competitiveness, makeup, leadership skills. He's someone who's in a tough league at a young age, but really a guy who is a game changer."
Gose is not as highly-regarded as Wallace -- now involved in trades for Matt Holliday, Halladay and Oswalt in the past year -- but Anthopoulos said the outfielder has more upside than his statistics reveal. Gose has 103 strikeouts in 103 games and has been caught stealing 27 times.
Anthopoulos added that his army of scouts returned with consistently high ratings on Gose, who will report to high-Class A Dunedin in the Jays' system. Anthopoulos went as far as saying that Gose has even drawn comparisons to Rays outfielder Carl Crawford.
"All of our scouts came back and raved about him," Anthopoulos said. "From a consensus standpoint, every one of our scouts thought this was going to be an above-average, All-Star-caliber center fielder. We don't have too many reports that are unanimous that way."
That said, the Blue Jays now have a problem at first base.
Wallace, 23, was considered the first baseman of the future for the Jays -- likely beginning next season. Veteran first baseman Lyle Overbay is a free agent this winter and Toronto lacks another Major League-ready prospect. Wallace was performing well this year and seemed poised to see The Show soon.
With Triple-A Las Vegas this season, Wallace hit .301 with 18 home runs, 24 doubles and 61 RBIs.
One solution could be shifting Adam Lind to first base for next season. The designated hitter and part-time left fielder manned first in college and has backed up Overbay in a few games this year. Right now, Anthopoulos admitted that he is not sure what direction the team will go.
"I don't really know how it's going to line up right now," Anthopoulos said. "We don't have a first baseman under contract -- a true first baseman -- but there's certain avenues we may be able to explore. We're really not sure right now. We're open-minded, but we haven't really talked about that at all."
For now, Anthopoulos is thrilled to have landed Gose.
"When we finally had the opportunity to acquire Anthony," Anthopoulos said, "though it did cost us a very good player in Brett Wallace, who we think is ready for the Major Leagues right now, we felt it was the right move to make."
Jordan Bastian is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.