The Toronto Blue Jays remained one of the most active teams this winter, pulling off a late night trade on Wednesday that should help the team’s depth in the infield. According to a team press release, the Blue Jays have traded center fielder Anthony Gose to the Detroit Tigers for second base prospect Devon Travis.
The trade ends a somewhat rocky history for Anthony Gose with the Toronto Blue Jays. Once considered a top prospect with exceptional speed and fielding tools, Gose was never able to hit at the Major League level with a career slash-line of .234/.301/.332 with 34 stolen bases in 616 career plate appearances. Because of that, and the presence of Colby Rasmus in center field, Gose was never able to make the impression he wanted to or seize the job in center field.
Gose will now compete for the center field job in Detroit which was vacated when the team traded Austin Jackson at the trade deadline in 2014. He could also be used in a platoon with fellow former Blue Jay Rajai Davis.
In exchange, the Blue Jays receive second base prospect Devon Travis, who was recently named the team’s top prospect earlier in the day by Baseball America. That seems like quite the coup for a wash-out like Gose.
At 23, Travis made his first appearance at the Double-A level in 2014, hitting .298/.358/.460 with 7 home runs, 52 RBI, and 16 stolen bases for the Erie SeaWolves. In three minor league seasons, Travis is a career .323/.388/.487 hitter. He is also regarded as solid defensively, which is a seemingly common term for Detroit prospects.
Now while Travis drew the number one ranking from Baseball America, it came with the following caveat:
"Few prospects in the (Detroit) organization have star potential. The pitchers are a mix of possible back-end starters and relievers. The position players are more steady than special, with Devon Travis blocked at second base by Kinsler. – Baseball America"
That said, middle infield is a position where the Blue Jays lack a true prospect to begin with, so a steady, productive infielder could be just what the team needs. Still, it is doubtful that Travis is ready to make the jump in 2015, which still leaves a hole at the keystone for next season.
Here is the Baseball America video on Travis to wet your appetite.
Unfortunately, while the move buffers one spot for the Blue Jays, it also casts another cloud over the team’s outfield situation that was already pretty thin heading into the winter. Gose was expected to platoon in center field with Kevin Pillar in 2015, with top prospect Dalton Pompey lingering as someone who could possibly steal the job from both during the spring. Additionally, the Blue Jays also stand to lose left fielder Melky Cabrera via free agency, which meant that team was also looking to fill another hole.
Now it appears as though Pompey has the inside track in center field, with Pillar being the likely fourth outfielder and the Blue Jays looking for a free agent or another trade to fill the hole in left field if they lose Cabrera.