Being a Dick: I’ll show you a bad trade!


Richard Griffin provides a load of Blue Jays content. Not only does he do the Lord’s work covering the team on the regular, he also does a mail bag, and live chats. And in truth he should receive credit for the excellent hijacking of those by Stoeten over at DJF. However there is the time where perhaps spends too much time with coworker Damien Cox and comes out with some outlandish claims. And it’s at these times that I feel he stops being Richard and starts being a Dick. So in what hopefully will become a semi-regular thing from me, I give you Richard Griffin… Being a Dick.

Aug 7, 2013; Seattle, WA, USA; Toronto Blue Jays pitcher

J.A. Happ

(48) throws against the Seattle Mariners during the first inning at Safeco Field. Mandatory Credit: Joe Nicholson-USA TODAY Sports

So on Tuesday beloved baseball writer Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star decided to make some bold proclamations about trades. He asserted that last season’s trade with the Astros ,that saw the Blue Jays get back J.A. Happ, and not a whole lot else, was the worst trade made by Alex Anthopoulos. Griffin laments the loss of FIVE whole prospects that were packaged with Francisco Cordero and Ben Francisco, to pry Happ away from the Astros along with some spare part arms for the bullpen that were gone before this season started.

To prove his point Griffin declares:

"A year after the Happ deal, the 30-year-old lefty has demonstrated that unless he makes some changes, he is a 5-6 inning, 95-105 pitch starter that can at best be described as a No. 5 starter or swingman in the tough AL East."

Which as the last two years have shown us, there are plenty of pitchers available to pitch in the fifth spot in your rotation. So clearly the Blue Jays are not in the market for number five starters.

To then point out how much the Jays gave up he posts this season’s stat lines for all the prospects that went to the Astros. I’m assuming Griffin does this so that we can clearly see that all of these players are still in the minors, and none of them missed three months after taking a line drive off the head.

I assume that this is the reason he does this… because if for some reason he was trying to show how much potential these players have by posting their numbers from High A that would be pretty silly wouldn’t it??

I mean if we’re talking minor league numbers then the Jays got a total steal, because last time I checked when Happ was in the minors in 2006 he went 10–9, with an ERA of 2.69, 162 strikeouts, and 49 walks in 160⅔ innings. With numbers like that I think we can all agree with Mr. Cheezle that good things are coming.

You see Mr. Griffin if even one of those five prospects has the same level of success as Happ in the majors the Astros will be thrilled.

With the current sharknado of a season going on it’s funny that Griffin would settle on that deal as the worst ever made by Anthopoulos, because  to me acquiring a back end starter who performs like a back end starter, isn’t really that bad. The bad trade in my eyes is acquiring the Ace who performs like a back end starter like a certain, R.A. Dickey. From his article I think he doesn’t come down hard on this trade because he lumps it in with the Marlins deal as purposeful strides toward contention.

This seems to be a common mistake lumping in the two trades of this last offseason because obviously I think each trade would be given a very different grade.

The deal with the Marlins brought in Jose Reyes and Mark Buehrle who have come exactly as advertised, although unfortunately Josh Johnson couldn’t get it together. But still the Jays traded prospects who were blocked, one dimensional, or still a ways from having an impact and parlayed it into proven Major League talent, and even they had two players bust in Johnson and Emilio Bonifacio.

The deal for R.A. Dickey on the other hand is more of a worst trade candidate by far. While R.A. Dickey was the reigning Cy Young winner and had shown a track record of success since reinventing himself as a knuckle-baller, he was essentially a giant question mark. The amount of high ranking prospect capital the Jays gave up to get a pitcher who for all intents and purposes was a wildcard… was not a sound investment.

If you’ll kindly look at the list below, you will see the season statistics for three pitchers who signed new deals before this season. The term and dollars for all three deals were roughly in the same ball park. While Jeremy Guthrie has clearly not been as good as R.A. Dickey however… the opportunity cost to acquire Guthrie would have simply been the money on his contract, not two of the top five prospects in your farm system. Kyle Lohse you could argue has been better than Dickey this season, and he only cost one first round draft pick, and obviously whatever bonus money that goes with it. But is that first round pick in the 2013 draft worth more than the top catching prospect in the game and a high ceiling starting pitcher? Well you look at the numbers and decide.

I personally think giving up a prized pitching prospect, and a stud prospect at what is likely the Jays’ position of greatest need, since J.P. Arencibia seems fixated on mimicking Joaquin Phoenix in Signs, is a bit of an overpay. Especially for someone putting up numbers that are comparable to Jeremy Guthrie would be a better candidate for worst trade.

Although lets not kid ourselves giving away Mike Napoli clearly the worst trade.