Well, that certainly didn’t last long.
Much like when Alex Anthopoulos traded Vernon Wells for Mike Napoli (along with Juan Rivera), only to be moved some days later for Frank Francisco, the Blue Jays have traded utility players Mike Aviles and Yan Gomes to the Cleveland Indians in exchange for Right-Handed reliever Esmil Rogers. Mike Aviles was with the club only a short few weeks after being traded for John Farrell and David Carpenter in late October. Most importantly, it’s the first big unexpected, secretive move Alex Anthopoulos has pulled off in the 2012 offseason.
While Esmil Rogers isn’t quite exactly the sexy offseason pitcher trade that many hoped AA would make, there are some benefits that he provides. He is a relief pitcher with 4 more years of team control, as this year Esmil JUST missed the cutoff for Super 2 status, meaning that the Blue Jays organization have some time to do what they want to do to improve a young pitcher with a 96 MPH fastball and reasonable control (as of late). With the exception of the 2012 season (in which he made no starts), he has made 22 starts in his big league career, meaning he could be used as a cheap long man replacement for Carlos Villanueva, who might not come back to the club for 2013. Finally, for most of his career Esmil has pitched at Coors Field, meaning that a move to Toronto could help improve his HR-against stats, which in turn would help lower his runs against stats.
This trade, albeit being strange and seemingly unimportant, launches a series of questions about Alex Anthopoulos’ 2012 offseason intentions. While he may be the King Of Boring Waiver Claims, one must question why he would trade away Aviles when the only Jays players slated to return to middle infield positions are Yunel Escobar and Adeiny Hechavarria? Does this mean that they will re-sign Kelly Johnson? Is another trade for a second baseman already in the works? Can we please have starting pitching come to the Blue jays soon?
It is just the first day in which free agents can sign with any team they choose, and there are 5 more days in which we wait for players with qualifying offers/club options to either resign or become free agents, so there is a lot more time to go before we count Alex Anthopoulos out. There’s a lot more moves to be done, so we can only wait and see what our Silent Assassin GM will do in the coming months.