Aug 17, 2012; Toronto, ON, Canada; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher J.A. Happ (48) before delivering a pitch against the Texas Rangers at the Rogers Centre. The Blue Jays beat the Rangers 3-2. Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

How Are Those July Trades Looking Now

I don’t think anyone would argue making 3 trades in the span of a week and a half is excessive. Usually if a team makes 3 trades before the July trade deadline they’re “all in” trying to rebuild or “all in” trying to get a playoff spot that season.

The Toronto Blue Jays made 3 trades last July before the trade deadline and they weren’t trying to do either of those things.

What were they trying to do? No one really understood to a lot of Blue Jays fans frustration. But let’s see if we can figure it out now.

On July 20 the Blue Jays traded Francisco Cordero, Ben Francisco, Asher Wojciechowski, David Rollins, Joe Musgrove, Carlos Pérez, and Kevin Comer for J.A. Happ, Brandon Lyon and David Carpenter.

A lot of Blue Jays fans didn’t like the trade because it seemed like a lot to give up considering the circumstances of the players the Jays received in return. Brandon Lyon was going to be a free agent at the end of the season and did end up signing elsewhere this offseason and David Carpenter wasn’t even good enough to join the big league bullpen and he ended up being traded to the Redsox in the John Farrell trade.

J.A. Happ was used as a reliever when he first came to Toronto and it wasn’t like his inevitable 2012 rotation spot was going to help the Jays make the playoffs. He also wasn’t seen as a rotation candidate for 2013. It seemed like the Jays just made the trade for the sake of it.

Happ was actually a pretty good starter for the Jays down the stretch in 2012 and earned himself a chance to be in 2013 rotation. He was even in line to be the Jays 5th starter this offseason until they acquired R.A. Dickey.

We still don’t know what Happ’s future in Toronto will be but now it looks like he could be extremely valuable for the Jays in 2013. He could take the Jays 5th starter spot if Ricky’s terribleness from last season continues. Either way the Jays are bound to need him in 2013 to make spot starts or to come out of the bullpen. No one misses Francisco Cordero and Ben Francisco and we don’t know what the prospects the Jays traded will end up being but as far as 2013 is concerned that trades looking pretty good right now.

Who can forget July 30th when the Blue Jays were playing the Seattle Mariners with Travis Snider in left field. He got pulled out of the game because he got traded to the Pirates for Brad Lincoln. Everyone assumed Eric Thames would come up from the minors to be the new left fielder but after the game we found out Thames had been traded to the Mariners for Steve Delabar.

No Jays fan in his right mind should miss Snider or Thames since the Jays ended up signing the 2012 NL batting champion Melky Cabrera to play left field.

Eric Thames highest potential seemed to be a fourth outfielder so trading him for anything made sense. The Jays didn’t just get anything though they got Steve Delabar. Delabar was as impressive as a reliever can be in his 2 months with the Jays striking out batter after batter after batter. Even though 2 months is a small sample size most Blue Jays fans already see Delabar ending up as the Jays closer before the end of the 2013 season and for years to come. We’ll have to see if his dominance from last season continues but right now the worst case scenario for Delabar looks like the Jays long term set up man.

Unlike the other 2 trades Snider for Brad Lincoln is still a head scratcher. Mainly because the Jays still don’t know what they’re going to get from Lincoln and the Pirates still don’t know what they’re going to get from Snider.

Snider was going to be out of options in 2013 so the Jays were going to have to trade him if they needed to send him to the minors anyways. It’s just that Snider was the Jays top prospect for a long time and a lot of fans still felt he had star potential and never got enough playing time to prove it. So it was hard to digest the fact that his value had gotten so low that he was traded for a reliever. It didn’t help that Brad Lincoln wasn’t too impressive with the Jays and that his future in Toronto is far from certain. However the Pirates ended up not giving Travis Snider full playing time in Pittsburg either so it’s not like the Jays were just crazy.

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  • Daniel G.

    The way I saw it (and see it still, now), the Jays lost on the Happ trade due to the cost to bring him over, broke even until further notice on the Lincoln trade and won hard on the Thames for Delabar trade.

    Although, watching Snider walk off the field, giving hugs to fellow teammates was one of the most heart-breaking moments in my Blue Jays tv viewership. Raw emotions, raw emotions everywhere.

    • RyanMueller

      Isn’t it funny how much love us jays fans have for Snider. I really hope he does well in the NL. At the very least I see him turning into a role player in the model of Hinske.

  • mike in boston

    Good post. The real question for me is the Snider trade. Lincoln is currently being considered either as a depth starter in AAA or as a bullpen guy with no real role in an already full bullpen. As far as “return” goes for one of your top prospects, that is terrible.

    I’m more forgiving of the Happ trade since it would have been impossible to predict the bounty that was to come. Having a reliable major league arm seemed like a huge priority last year, especially in light of all the injuries to young arms.

    • RyanMueller

      I agree with everything you said. I would like to add that all these trades were to compensate for all the injuries. We needed arms and we got them, with Happ, Del, Lyon, and Lincoln being able to step right in. This allowed the jays to take there time with guys that were just not ready. They tried Dyson, Beck, and Loup, with the later being the only one that showed he was ready.

  • gabrielsyme

    While the Thames/Delabar trade looks like a good trade for the Jays, I think it’s hard to see the other trades as anything but disappointments.

    While Lyon had value last year, he was a rental and the Jays weren’t really in the hunt; I do think the Jays saw something in Happ that made them value him highly, but if they thought he could be an average starter, it’s unclear why we now have him as our sixth starter. There was an great deal of talent the Jays traded away in that exchange, and Happ was the only piece of value in return. On a fundamental level, he did pitch awfully well after the trade but had a really bad strand rate, leading to an unimpressive ERA.

    As for Snider for Lincoln, I’m surprised AA wasn’t able to extract a better return, but Lincoln could be a reliable reliever if all goes well.

  • Oprk

    Kind of funny how things work out, being a Mariners fan we have a deep bullpen and many more ready and waiting in the wings so Delabar was a solid arm but expendable to hopefully acquire some thump in Thames with our two 100mph 22 year olds needing roster spots, and we luckily don’t need Thames to prove his worth until 2014 when likely at least 2 of our 3 off-season veterans picked up (Ibanez/Morse/Bay) move on. While I consider it a better addition trade-wise on the Blue Jays side as you guys do, we actually plucked Delabar out of being a substitute teacher and back into baseball, similar to pulling our closer Wilhelmsen from being a bartender back into baseball. It’s easy to consider any trade good when you move a player you have nothing invested in! Glad Delabar is working out up North as I knew he would and hopefully Thames is ready to make his mark when he gets his chance to be an everyday player in 2014 as he’ll likely spend almost all of this year at AAA barring injuries since our main 5 OF’s are firmly entrenched in their positions as veterans at the major league level. Even if he ends up a 4th OF for his ceiling, he’ll only be 27 next year and seems to have the right attitude and I’ve already noticed him making changes in his approach so, fingers crossed on Thames. That Snider/Lincoln trade still has both teams confused, but now about both players. I don’t know that anyone will ever know what they have in either player! Not sure the players know either, haha.