With the Trade Deadline approaching, we look back at the Blue Jays’ 2015 splurge and see if there’s a lesson to be learned
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Much is made about holding onto prospects in order to position a team for a prolonged run at playoff baseball. For the record, I have advocated that the Blue Jays do just that with regard to their best prospects this year.
It was also mentioned that then Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos ‘mortgaged the future’ for a chance at the 2015 playoffs and World Series. Now we all know how that played out with regard to the major league team, and I think we are all OK with the outcome. But just how much of the future did AA mortgage? Here is a look at what he gave up for that epic playoff run six years ago.
The big ‘rental deal’ sent Jays top prospect Daniel Norris, along with lesser pitching prospects Matt Boyd and Jairo Labourt to the Tigers for ace David Price. Price led the Jays to the playoffs and then signed a $217,000,000 deal with the Red Sox in the off season. Since the trade Norris has battled various injuries and health issues and pitched to a 18-34 record with a 4.62 ERA. Matt Boyd, despite the media hype in 2018 when he pitched to a 3-13 record with 4.35 ERA has a career record of 37-60 and a 4.93 ERA. Jairo Labourt surfaced in the majors for 6 innings in 2017. All in all, the Jays have not missed any of these pitchers and would do this trade a million times over.
The other big deal was the acquisition of shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and reliever LaTroy Hawkins for declining shortstop (and most of his contract) Jose Reyes, top pitching prospect Jeff Hoffman (selected 9th overall in 2014), 20 year old reliever Miguel Castro and pitching prospect Jesus Tinoco. Since this trade Hoffman, the centrepiece of the deal, has amassed -1.4 WAR a 13-20 record and an ERA of 6.13. Castro has become a serviceable reliever pitching to a 10-20 record with a 4.25 ERA and 3.1 WAR. Tinoco has accumulated 44 IP in the bigs with a 4.03 ERA. Once again, the Jays make this trade every time.
The acquisition of outfielder Ben Revere cost the Jays Jimmy Cordero owner of a 3-5 record and 4.55 ERA over 83 innings and Albert Tirado who despite being ranked the 76 best overall prospect by Baseball Prospectus at the time never pitched in the majors. Nothing lost in this trade at all.
Reliever Mark Lowe cost the Jays pitcher Nick Wells who is pitching well for the Nationals AAA team this year; Rob Rasmussen who retired in 2016; and Jake Brentz who is in his first full season with the Royals and is having a good year with a 2.95 ERA in 39 innings pitched. Nothing significant lost here.
So despite trading 10 pitching prospects (including their top two) not one of those pitchers have made the Jays even think twice about the trades. Not one has become even a MLB average pitcher.
This is all to say that the Jays should not worry about trading from the second tier of their prospects for immediate help, especially for help in the bullpen which will have the greatest immediate impact on the Jays win – loss record going forward and will not cost them anything near their top prospects.
The vast majority of deadline deals end up looking like those above. Not every trade ends up looking like Mark Langston for Randy Johnson or Bartolo Colon for Lee Stevens, Grady Sizemore, Cliff Lee and Brandon Phillips. Most deadline deals look like those above, the key is knowing your own players and who should be traded.
The Jays are a few pieces away from serious playoff contention – they should not hold back in fear of losing a few prospects that are unlikely to turn into everyday MLB players. Just don’t trade Austin Martin, or Simeon Woods Richardson, or Gabriel Moreno, or Orelvis Martinez, or…. any of the other prospects I think are destined for greatness……..
*Featured Image Courtesy Of DaveMe Images. Prints Available For Purchase.
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Jason C MacDonald has been a Blue Jays fan since the late 1980’s. His lifelong passion for Baseball and the Blue Jays has recently led him to start writing at JFtC. When not working at his day job or driving his two teenage sons to their sporting events Jason is usually reading, listening, watching or now writing about baseball.