The non-waiver trade deadline has come and passed. I’ve had 24 hours to digest and as a Jays fan I can honestly say that it was a refreshing and necessary approach to the July 31st deadline.
What exactly do I mean by this? Our beloved friend Mr. Dean Blundell has been openly critical about the Blue Jays and their lack of spending this offseason, which you can read here. I was actually at the Rogers Centre watching Canada’s dumpster fire take to the field when the Blue Jays announced that seasons for 2018 would increase in price by an average of 11%. At that moment, you could collectively hear the moans of 45,000 fans. I’m pretty sure I saw some souls floating out of the Rogers Centre as well, or I might have just been incredibly hammered. Maybe both? It’s the only way I can watch a Blue Jays game these days, especially after last night’s 7-6 collapse.
Now there’s a reason for my ranting. If Rogers, a company worth $22.9 billion according to Forbes, is increasing the price of seasons during this disappointing season, they have an obligation to the fans and shareholders of the team to invest more money. Yes, I know that Rogers has a separate division for the baseball team. Yes, I know that they have the 5th highest payroll in baseball. They have also benefitted from a fanbase that has invested into this team, thus making Rogers boatloads of cash. It’s time for Rogers to show off their fat wallets.
And they did.
Trade #1: LHP Francisco Liriano and Cash to the Astros for OF Nori Aoki and OF Teoscar Hernandez (#9 Astros Prospect)
Two weeks ago, Blue Jays fans were calling for Liriano to be DFA’d. Thank God we don’t let the animals run the zoo.
I don’t know what gets Rogers so hard about waiving their black credit card around on July 31st, but this is the one day out of the entire year that Rogers burns the financial reports and actually gives instead of takes. Not sure what I’m referring to? Let me jog your memory.
2015 – Blue Jays acquire massive contracts in David Price and Troy Tulowitzki
2016 – Blue Jays ate all of Liriano’s contract to essentially “buy” two top-10 prospects from the Pirates for Drew Hutchison (side note: is he even still alive…?)
2017 – Liriano is shipped along with some money bags while also eating the contract of Nori Aoki to acquire OF prospect Teoscar Hernandez
Hernandez slots in as Toronto’s #5 prospect. He has speed, athleticism, and can contribute to the major league club as early as this season if they really want him to. Nori Aoki helps I guess, but he’s got one foot in the Japanese retirement home, which I can only envision as a mystical place full of Geisha girls. What a life.
Liriano, I am truly going to miss you. Yeah, you’ve been pretty junk as a starter this year with you 6 ERA, but I will always remember your performance in the AL Wild Card game. Without you, I don’t think the Jays win.
A quick trade tree for the Shatkins haters: Drew Hutchison was traded for a good half year of Liriano, Aoki, and three prospects. I believe that’s what the kids call “getting fleeced”. Pretty good return.
Trade #2: RHP Joe Smith to the Indians for Two Prospects
(Source: Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
This one doesn’t really have the same “oomph” as the Liriano deal, but the Jays actually did a good deed with this trade.
Joe Smith's trade to Indians puts him within driving distance of his mom, who has Huntington's disease. He did fundraiser in CLE last week.
— Bill Shaikin (@BillShaikin) July 31, 2017
This one gets you right in the feels. Classy move by both organizations, in a fit which seems perfect.
When I first read that the return would be two prospects out of Cleveland’s Top 30, I was shook. Then once the names came out, I got intrigued by one in particular, LHP Thomas Pannone.
While Pannone (1.96 ERA at AA/A+ in '17), isn't on CLE's @MLBPipeline Top 30, source says some rival clubs view him as Top 10 CLE prospect.
— Jordan Bastian (@MLBastian) July 31, 2017
Those are pretty impressive stats. Pannone became Toronto’s 21st ranked prospect, and one to keep an eye on for sure. He was drafted by the Shatkins regime, so they have some pretty good insight on the young man. Indian’s twitter seemed salty that they had to get rid of him, so that should speak volumes.
Deadline Grade: B+
The Jays made necessary trades and got some pretty good returns back. I am a little curious as to why players like Estrada weren’t moved, but if you’re not being offered anything, why bother I guess. I would have loved to have been a fly on the wall in Toronto’s war room, would have made for a juicy article. Instead, I’m swatting flies flying around me.
The Jays did what they needed to do. Now the players need to do what they are paid to do.