TORONTO – The trades have always been an important part of baseball.
From blockbusters to enclosure moves to DIY in the minor leagues, swapping assets, big and small, is what general managers do.
There is always room for improvement on a list, no matter where you rank.
When you look at the Toronto Blue Jays’ transaction history, the number of major swaps that change the franchise that have worked well immediately jumps.
On the other hand, when the time is right to demolish and rebuild, there is a long history of spoiling deals involving their most precious trading tokens.
For this one, I won’t bore you with a long preamble because there is a lot to do.
When the search started for this list, I had nearly 20 trades on each side of the ledger, but those 12 transactions finally stood out.
The best and worst of the Blue Jays on TSN.ca:
Mon. April 6 – The five best and the worst signatures
Wed. April 8 – The top five and the worst outfielders
Fri April 10 – The five best and worst games
Mon. April 13 – The five best and worst jobs
Wed April 15 – The five best and worst infielders
Fri April 17 – The five best and worst seasons
Mon. April 20 – The top five and worst picks
Wed, April 22 – The five best and worst launchers
Fri April 24 – The five best and worst moments
The best trades
5. (LINK) Daniel Norris, Matthew Boyd and Jairo Labourt to the Detroit Tigers for David Price, July 30, 2015; Junior Felix, Luis Sojo and Ken Rivers at the California Angels for Devon White, Willie Fraser and Marcus Moore, December 2, 1990
At the time, it seemed to give up a lot, but general manager Alex Anthopoulos knew how good it was and how badly they needed a horse at the top of the rotation.
This is exactly what David Price immediately became, throwing brilliantly in a Jays uniform for two months on the home stretch, finishing with a 9-1 record and a 2.30 ERA in 11 starts.
A game above .500 when the trade was made, the Jays went 41-18 the rest of the way to escape with the AL East.
Even though Price was pretty mediocre in the playoffs and walked at the end of the season as a free agent, Anthopoulos didn’t exactly lose much sleep from what he gave up.
Boyd became a quality starter at the age of 29, while Norris is still trying to find his way five years later.
Throughout this series, I have attached great importance to returning to the playoffs in 2015 and what it meant for a franchise that was in desperate need of an adrenaline boost, which means assessing the moves that made them come back a little bit differently.
Without the price, even with a prolific attack, you can certainly say that the Jays’ drought in the playoffs would have continued.
Twenty-five years earlier, Jays general manager Pat Gillick put on his ski mask and had a hold-up that appears to have been somewhat overlooked.
Three days before the blockbuster, which is also on this list, Gillick traded a few spare parts for Junior Felix and Luis Sojo on the west coast in exchange for Devon White, who had just had the worst year of his career, striking just. 217 in 1990.
White immediately reversed the downside scenario in his first season with the Jays, quietly posting three consecutive seasons of mainstream production and center-of-the-field defense.
From 1991 to 1993, White was worth a total of 17.7 fWAR.
Most will be surprised to learn that it was worth more than Roberto Alomar’s 16.1 fWAR over the same period.
4. Brett Lawrie, Franklin Barreto, Sean Nolin, Kendall Graveman at Oakland Athletics for Josh Donaldson, November 28, 2014
After arriving on the scene as Next Big Thing in 2011, Brett LawrieThe team’s representative plummeted over the next three seasons. He regressed offensively and was an average league player coming out of his 24 year campaign at the end of 2014.
Never afraid of driving and negotiating, the Anthopoulos representative grew up in this area when he designed an agreement to force Josh Donaldson away from the A’s, using Lawrie and top shortstop prospect Franklin Barreto as bait.
Adding a pair of decent pitch perspectives to the mix did the trick, and Donaldson, after seasons of 7.3 fWAR and 5.7 fWAR, respectively, in 2012 and 13, was added in the middle of ” a Jays range that included Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion.
All Donaldson did in his very first season in Toronto was to go out and win the quintessential American League player with a season of 41 homers, leading a powerful attack reminiscent of the days of WAMCO.
It’s unfortunate that J.D.’s tenure in a Jays uniform was short and sweet, but that doesn’t make Billy Beane and the A’s feel better. Lawrie was a disappointment and exchanged a year later, while Nolin and Graveman were, at best, arms spinning.
Meanwhile, more than five years later, Barreto still hangs on as a “prospect” and has had the opportunity to land A’s second base position this spring.
Always talented, there is always a chance that something will click for Barreto, 24 – after all Donaldson was late – but the verdict is already on this case and it is a huge W for Anthopoulos.
3. Fred McGriff and Tony Fernandez at the Padres de San Diego for Roberto Alomar and Joe Carter, December 5, 1990
No matter what the era, you rarely see trades of this magnitude go down, but when they do, they are absolutely beautiful.
The world of baseball stopped when this exchange was announced, with four star players changing leagues, coasts and countries.
At the time, Fred McGriff was a star after three consecutive seasons of 5.5 plus fWAR and he was only 26 years old.
Likewise, Tony Fernandez (RIP) was only 28 years old and provided an elite defense at shortstop and with war seasons of more than 4.0.
It seems like it would be difficult to win this deal, right?
Well, getting a future Hall of Fame in return helps, and that’s exactly what Gillick did by snatching Alomar, who set up a pair of huge seasons in 1992 and 1993.
At the same time, Joe Carter proved to be a mid-range threat with an innate ability to provide hits to runners, hit more than 30 homers and drive more than 100 points from 1991 to 1993.
But the real reason this business appears here has little to do with the numbers and everything to do with the culture change and mix of formations that have resulted in consecutive World Series titles.
In the grand scheme of things, this is a very fair deal, but the bling it has brought is what it is all about.
2. Dale Murray and Tom Dodd at the New York Yankees for Fred McGriff, Dave Collins, Mike Morgan and money, December 9, 1982
The above trade may never occur if it had not abated about six months after I was born.
With me in childbirth, Gillick was busy stacking his early career resume stealing the Crime Dog from a division rival in exchange for a pair of assets, the centerpiece being Dale Murray, a right-handed reliever who would end up with an ERA of 3.85 over 12 seasons.
McGriff, meanwhile, introduced himself as a regular in the league in 1987 and immediately became one of the most consistent and productive left-handed bats in the game, starting his career with OPS ‘of 0.881 (23 years old) ), .928 (24), 0.924 (25) and 0.930 (26), before being paired with Fernandez in the aforementioned blockbuster.
During these five seasons in Toronto, McGriff has accumulated an elite of 153 OPS + and has touched 125 circuits, finishing with 493 bombs in 19 years of career.
Despite the fall of the Hall of Fame ballot last year, McGriff’s case for Cooperstown is solid with 56.9 fWAR and a career forward slash line of .284 / .377 / .509.
Let’s bet here that today’s game committee takes a fresh look at McGriff when he elects new HOFers in December 2021 for the Hall of Fame class 2022 or in December 2023 for the class in 2024.
1. Robinzon Diaz to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Jose Bautista, August 21, 2008
It’s no better than that, even though absolutely no one saw it spinning that way at the time.
After bouncing around four different franchises to start his career, Bautista clinched his fifth with a waiver deal entirely off the radar in exchange for Diaz, a receiver who would appear in only 44 major league games.
With GM assistants Tony LaCava and Anthopoulos originally bringing the idea for the JP Ricciardi waiver request, the general manager was on board and they found a way to reach a deal with the Pirates, giving the Jays depth additional bench and injury replacement appropriate for third base player Scott Rolen.
Bautista then defeated .214 with three home runs in 21 games after being acquired. Meh.
The following year, it was about the same, as Bautista limped at a slash line .235 / .349 / .408, showing occasional glimpses of pop and an ability to wander and walk around. put on the base.
From there, the rest is history.
Bautista shocked it all in 2010 to hit 54 home runs with a .995 OPS, before releasing a monster slash .302 / .447 / .608 in 2011 to become one of the game’s first power hitters.
Bautista’s CV is heavy.
Not only did he hit 288 Jays uniform circuits, the native of Santo Domingo, DR, helped bring baseball to the playoffs in Toronto, creating one of the most dramatic moments in club history .
It’s probably the next name to go up to excellence, and they got it for free.
The worst jobs
5. (TIE) Jeff Kent and Ryan Thompson at the New York Mets for David Cone, August 27, 1992; John Olerud and Mets money for Robert Person, December 20, 1996
The old adage is that you have to give up something to get something and that couldn’t be truer in the case of David Cone’s trade.
Calling it one of the worst jobs in franchise history can be a stretch for some, given that Cone was excellent in streak for the Jays in 1992 with a 2.55 ERA over seven starts and a then had four reasonably solid playoff outings.
The problem, however, is that Gillick gave Jeff Kent a Hall of Fame bat.
Were Cone’s 75.1 total innings worth the 56.0 fWAR and 377 homers that Kent would touch in his 17 seasons?
The World Series banner that Cone helped hang will be there forever, but it’s still hard to swallow as Kent’s bounty came at a time when the Jays could surely have used his powerful bat in the middle of their roster line-up. late 90s. and early 2000s.
Another exchange with the Mets four years later is not as questionable.
After three years without a follow-up to the World Series in 1993, GM Gord Ash had a decision to make after the 1996 season.
With Carlos Delgado showing signs of evolution in the superstar, everyone expected this year in his first full season of big league and the 36-year-old outfielder Joe Carter needing more DH time at the end of his career, first baseman John Olerud was found to be consumable.
Exchanging Olerud before his 28 year season in 1997 turned out to be a huge mistake.
Olerud then posted a minimum of 4.4 fWAR per season in five of the following six years – his year of decline was still 3.6 fWAR – and even reached 0.354 with a sighted OPS of 998 in 1998.
To make matters worse, all Ash got in return was 27-year-old right-handed starter Robert Person, who ugled 6.18 for the Jays over the next two seasons and changed.
4. Noah Syndergaard, Travis d’Arnaud and Wuilmer Becerra at Les Mets for R.A. Dickey, Josh Thole and Mike Nickeas, December 17, 2012
Another gift from the Mets, this business has the potential to quickly move up this list once Thor’s career resumes after a break from Tommy John this year.
Honestly, all of the trades on this list were considered for the top spot, but there are several ways to look at this deal.
Sure, R.A. Dickey was the title winner of NL Cy Young and the 2.73 ERA and 4.7 fWAR he released in 2012 meant you had to pay a price for it.
But it was pretty obvious at the time, even to casual observers, that regression could be in the future for the knuckleballer and that small AL East ball fields could be a problem. This is exactly what happened.
Dickey was not a total zero, producing exactly 1.8 fWAR in each of the following three seasons and an overall ERA of 4.05 in his four seasons in Toronto, but Noah Syndergaard is a special force at the peak of its rotation that has already accumulated 18.8 fWAR and 3.31 ERA in its first 118 starts.
He is still only 27 years old.
At the same time, it took a while for Arnaud to find his balance due to injuries, but the 31-year-old was in working condition and has just signed a $ 16 million two-year contract with the Braves and Anthopoulos, the man who did this job.
3. David Wells and Matt DeWitt at the Chicago White Sox for Mike Sirotka, Mike Williams, Kevin Beirne and Brian Simmons, January 14, 2001
Re-acquired in Roger Clemens trade two years earlier, Wells was great for the Jays in 1999 and 2000, even if the PLARs that start with a four are not exactly sexy.
What Wells did was eat sleeves – 461.2 in those two years – as well as limit walks, resulting in 20 wins and 6.2 fWAR in 2000.
His ERA was still 4.11 and he surprisingly allowed 266 hits in the league lead in 229.2 innings that year, but it was good enough to make it to the all-star team, finishing third Cy Young’s vote and, in one way or another, collect votes from MVP.
Just like with Clemens, Ash was handcuffed by a well-known commercial demand, but even under difficult circumstances, trade was an absolute train wreck.
Although Wells was not good with the Pale Hose in 2001 – he rebounded with the Yankees in 2002 – the Jays traded a broken asset to Sirotka, who appeared in Toronto with a crazy shoulder after winning 15 games with a ERA of 3.79 in 2000 at the age of 29.
The Jays tried to cancel the deal, but it didn’t work, and the left-hander never threw another pitch in the big leagues.
Ash was fired less than nine months later.
There are parallels here with the 2018 Donaldson deal, a trade that would also make this list if it went further.
You just can’t let great assets – when Wells was a great asset after a 20-win season – escape for nothing.
2. Roy Halladay and the Philadelphia Phillies for Kyle Drabek, Travis d’Arnaud and Michael Taylor, December 16, 2009
When you trade in perhaps the best pitcher you’ve ever written and developed, one on a Hall of Fame trajectory, you’re already behind the eight ball and you have to stick it out for every last drop of value.
Evaluating trades in hindsight is always a tricky choice, but it’s also why trades cannot be properly evaluated at the time, because you never know.
Only at work for a few weeks at the time, Anthopoulos had the unenviable task of swapping one of the most popular players in franchise history, and was doing pretty well … at least that was it that it seemed at the time.
Kyle Drabek was one of the best prospects for baseball and a lineage player before the liners were cool in Toronto.
He ended up making just 30 career starts and had a 5.27 ERA with the Jays.
As previously mentioned, D’Arnaud was ultimately fired from the Mets in Dickey’s agreement, while Anthopoulos turned around the same day and sent Michael Taylor at Oakland A in exchange for the first basic prospect Brett Wallace.
Wallace was then handed over to the Houston Astros in July for an outdoor field perspective Anthony Gose, which Anthopoulos eventually transformed into a second baseman Devon Travis.
Travis is now out of baseball, leaving the Jays with nothing to show for Halladay a decade later and very little production along the way.
1. Michael Young and Darwin Cubillan at the Texas Rangers for Esteban Loaiza, July 19, 2000
A few games from the Yankees in the AL East race near the deadline, Ash made a deal with the Rangers to add depth to the rotation.
At the time, Esteban Loaiza had a BPM of 5.37 in Texas, but pitched better in Toronto, 5-7 with a BPM of 3.62 on 14 starts in the streak.
The Jays still finished 4.5 games.
Loaiza would continue to post a mediocre 4.96 ERA average and make 69 starts in the Jays uniform, but Young Young was ultimately a huge mistake.
A 1997 fifth-round pick of the Jays in 1997 from the University of California, Young didn’t exactly rip Double-A at the time with a sub-800 OPS, and much like Kent eight years ago hadn’t seemed like a clear path to play time.
Once again, the Jays have chosen the wrong guy to trade.
From there, Young made just seven all-star games in Texas and reduced by 300 / .346 / .441 in 14 major league seasons.
He was arrested with 44 pounds of cocaine in San Diego in 2018 and is currently serving a three-year prison sentence.