The Toronto Blue Jays GM said he had plenty of discussions leading up to the 4 p.m. ET deadline Tuesday, but never was really close to finalizing a deal.
"We thought we were moving towards something late last night . . . it carried over into the morning and ended up falling apart," Anthopoulos said during a conference call. "That's just the way trade talks go, you have 1,000 conversations to hopefully get one deal done.
"We had a lot of active dialogue, we had a lot of things going on but I don't know if we were ever that close to getting anything done.''
Toronto did make a move prior to the deadline, recalling outfielder Moises Sierra from Triple-A Las Vegas and optioning left-hander Evan Crawford and right-hander Joel Carreno to the Pacific Coast League club.
Anthopoulos made two deals late Monday night, acquiring relievers Brad Lincoln and Steve Delabar. Toronto sent outfielder Travis Snider to Pittsburgh for right-hander Lincoln while outfielder Eric Thames, who was in Las Vegas, went to Seattle for Delabar, another right-hander.
Anthopoulos feels the two trades will not only help Toronto now but also in the future.
"We added two big-league players to our bullpen so I think we've improved our club," he said. "I don't think there's any doubt about that right now.''
Lincoln was 4-2 with one save and a 2.73 ERA. The 27-year-old pitched 28 games for Pittsburgh this year and has been a starter and reliever during his career.
Anthopoulos wouldn't rule out Lincoln eventually becoming a starter in Toronto but said he acquired the right-hander specifically to work in the bullpen.
"When we looked at him the primary appeal was his ability to pitch late innings, power arm with swing-and-miss stuff,'' Anthopoulos said. "That's what he was really acquired for.
"Obviously there is added value where the upside is maybe one day he would potentially be able to start. But that wasn't the primary focus when we acquired him.''
Delabar, 29, was 2-1 with a 4.17 ERA in 34 games for Seattle and over two seasons with the Mariners was 3-2 with a 3.92 ERA in 40 appearances. The six-foot-five, 220-pound Delabar figured his career was over in 2009 when he fractured his right elbow and required a steel plate and nine screws to be inserted into the joint to hold it together.
Delabar signed as a free agent with Seattle last year and worked his way through the ranks to make his major-league debut Sept. 11, 2011 against Kansas City.
Anthopoulos spoke very highly of Sierra, who hit .289 with a team-high 17 homers in 100 games at Las Vegas. And while playing time in Toronto might be limited for the 23-year-old Sierra, Anthopoulos praised his defensive ability.
"He has certainly done very well from a statistical standpoint and in Las Vegas defensively he has been outstanding," Anthopoulos said. "It would be interesting to see both him and Jose Bautista throwing from right field to compare the arm strength because (Sierra) has as good an arm probably as any right-fielder in the game.
"He's on the (40-man roster) and being up here certainly won't be bad for his development.''
Crawford, 25, appeared in 10 games with Toronto, posting a 0-0 record and 6.75 earned-run average while Carreno, also 25, was 0-2 with a 6.35 ERA in seven games, including two starts, with the Blue Jays this season.
Injuries have ravaged Toronto's pitching corps this season with starters Brandon Morrow (oblique), Kyle Drabek (torn ulnar collateral ligament) and Drew Hutchinson (sprained ulnar collateral ligament) all out, along with closer Sergio Santos (shoulder) and relievers Luis Perez (torn ulnar collateral ligament) and Jason Frasor (forearm).
Bautista, who had an AL-leading 27 homers when he suffered a sprained left wrist July 16, is scheduled to come off the 15-day disabled list Wednesday. But he is expected to require a few more days to fully recover.
But with the addition of Lincoln and Delabar, along with J.A. Happ and Brandon Lyon in the 10-player deal with Houston, Toronto has added four new pitchers to the bullpen since July 20. What's more, three of them will be under team control through next season, giving the Blue Jays added security.
However, Toronto's inability to make more of a splash at the deadline could irritate some fans who've waited patiently since 1993 for the club to return to the playoffs. But Anthopoulos said it's more important the Blue Jays make the right trade.
"At the end of the day I think fans understand we're ultimately doing what we think is best for the long- and short-term of the club," he said. "I don't think anybody wants us to make a bad deal.
"I think the fans realize and certainly follow along in terms of making the right deal and I think that's all they really care about. As long as we continue to improve the club and again I don't know they ever want us to necessarily do it at the expense of doing a bad deal.''