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Updated: July 2, 2010, 1:44 AM ET

Life gets a little crazy for GMs in July

By J.P. Ricciardi
ESPN
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The trade deadline is less than a month away now, and regardless of teams' intentions, general managers are gathering as much information as possible. Winning teams are scouring the majors for players who could be on the trading block, and losing teams are looking for minor league prospects to bolster their farm system.

When I was the general manager of the Toronto Blue Jays, my approach as the trade deadline neared really depended on whether I was a buyer or a seller. I would talk daily to other GMs, gauging their interest in possible deals. At this time of year, a lot of weird offers will come up because people are throwing anything and everything out there. Some guys are just trying to put their toe in the water and see how their team keeps playing.

I was a little different because I just cut to the chase. I never picked up the phone if I didn't want to do something. Why would I want to waste three weeks of someone's time? I always thought the whole dance between general managers was a waste of everybody's time.

Sometimes, though, you have to go through the dance if you want to make the deal.

Last year, Scott Rolen told me he wanted to be traded because his family didn't like living in Toronto. The Cincinnati Reds showed a strong interest in him from the beginning. For three weeks, we went back and forth with Cincinnati, and the deal finally got done close to the deadline.

Actually, it was almost too close to the deadline. As we were trying to send all the details to the commissioner's office, the fax machine stopped working. Here I am, kicking the fax machine, and screaming at Rolen's agent, saying, "Send the agreement again!" (Rolen had to sign off on the deal because of his no-trade clause.) It took us about five tries to finally get the fax through. We got it into the commissioner's office with less than a minute to spare.

For every deal we got done at the deadline, there were too many to count that fell through. We had countless swings and misses on guys that we were hoping to get, but weren't able to agree on terms. I remember one year we had Frank Catalanotto, and the Reds were knocking on our door. We wanted Johnny Cueto, who was in A-ball at the time, and they didn't want to give him up. There are a million stories like that.

I had another situation with a player that we agreed to trade about 20 minutes before the deadline. I told our president about the deal, and he said, "The fans like him and I like him. I don't think we should trade him." We had to back out of the deal.

However frustrating these things might be, this is still one of the most-fun times of year for general managers. Anytime you have a chance to add talent to your roster, it's exciting.

J.P. Ricciardi is an analyst for "Baseball Tonight"

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