Blue Jays Trade with Athletics: Do We Regret it?


Right now, the Blue Jays appear to be buyers heading into the Trade Deadline. This has some fans nervous about just how much the club will have to give up in order to land that coveted starting pitcher. We fear losing prospects that could help us down the road. The counter to that is that you have to give up something to get something. Take last winter for example. The Toronto Blue Jays landed one of the best players in all of baseball in Josh Donaldson. The cost was Brett Lawrie, Kendall Graveman, Sean Nolin and Franklin Barreto. A similar package my be in order to bring in the help this club needs.

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Like the R.A. Dickey deal, will fans look back on the Donaldson deal and be disappointed? Likely not given what we’ve seen from The Bringer of Rain. If Dickey had come in with that kind of impact, losing Noah Syndergaard wouldn’t have stung so much. But, here we are. We’re facing the possibility of giving up yet another package of young talent to bring in proven impact talent. The question is: Is it worth it?

In order to get a player like Donaldson, who also came with years of club control, the Blue Jays paid a premium. Or, did they? What have they lost? With a series opening up against the Athletics, perhaps this is a good time to answer that question. We don’t often hear much about the West Coast Athletics, so let’s check ’em out.

Toronto Blue Jays
Toronto Blue Jays /

Toronto Blue Jays

Brett Lawrie– The 25 year old is hitting .280/.315/.410 with 8 HR and 37 RBI in his new green and yellow uniform. In 88 games, he’s collected 86 strike outs to the tune of 25.1%, which is a MLB career high for him. He’s also setting a personal record for patience with an all time low walk rate of 4.1%. Is the ball of energy trying too hard? Perhaps. But, what is nice to see is that Lawrie is putting up a wRC+ of 104 and has played 88 games! He’s been healthy. Thus far, he’s been worth a WAR of 0.9. This number could be higher if it weren’t for a defensive value of -4.9. What?! After putting up a 14.9 UZR/150 last year, he’s come crashing down to a -10.5! Can it be the turf, Brett?

Fans will also recall the ridiculousness that ensued with the Royals form earlier in the season that came as a surprise to no one. Lawrie was thrown at by Kelvin Herrera at 100mph after Lorenzo Cain had already been hit. Benches cleared. Lawrie also committed what some call a dirty slide to break up a double play. He was also hit by Yordano Ventura. And then there was a whole incident about Lawrie making contact via text message that may or may not have actually been sent or recieved. But, in all honesty, can we be surprised? In some ways, fans will not regret losing Brett Lawrie in this trade…now or years from now.

Kendall Graveman– After rocketing through the Blue Jays’ system, Graveman would have been categorized as close to or nearly major league ready when this deal went down. The Athletics took a chance and inserted him into their rotation. It is for this reason that Blue Jays fans may wish for him back. Right now, we need a starter. And, with the exception of 4 starts that he made in AAA after being sent down, he’s been a reliable starter for the Athletics. Blue Jay fans would love a reliable starter right about now. 

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Vlad Jr. is clearly still salty he lost AL MVP to Shohei Ohtani
Vlad Jr. is clearly still salty he lost AL MVP to Shohei Ohtani /


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  • Graveman has put up a 6-5, 3.38 season thus far. In 82 innings of work, he’s only struck our 51, or 14.4%. That’s not so bad, I suppose. He’s getting by with a great slider that has been worth 2.48 runs above average per 100 pitches (wSL/C) according to He might have some room to grow with batters making contact 84.2% of the time (92.7% in the zone). Is all of this enough to make us regret giving him up? Probably not.

    Sean Nolin– He’s been in AAA this season and has dealt with a groin injury. But, he’s seen 10 games, 8 of which were starts for a total of 33.2 innings. His ERA looks rather nice at 2.67, but his 5.06 FIP paints a different picture. His command is a bit of an issue since he’s walking 11.3% of batters. while batters are getting on, he leaves 85.5% of batters on base. So there’s something. Obviously, it isn’t really fair to judge whether or not losing Nolin was an overpay since he was injured for a period of time. But, again, he’s not exactly been setting the world on fire to make us regret giving him up. 

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    Franklin Barreto– The 19 year old who many feel was the key piece of the whole package has been playing A+ this season. In 88 games, he’s hit 12 HR and 45 RBI to go with a .298/.329/.492 line. His wRC+ of 141 indicates that this short stop is one we would have loved to hold on to if we could.

    But, isn’t that the point? In order to get a player who you know is going to help your club, you’re going to have to give up those that you think could or might. What makes the Trade Deadline so interesting is that you’re not looking for a top talent for years to come like they got with Josh Donaldon. No, you’re looking for that kind of talent to rent for 3 months or an extra year, if you’re lucky.

    But, if this year’s Blue Jays are serious about making a run at the playoffs, they’re going to have to take a risk. They’re going to have to give up a package that could hurt for years to come. The players lost to the Athletics deal may not hurt that much this year. They may not next year. But, you can bet that in a few years, we’ll look back on that deal and any other that comes in the next couple weeks and wonder what could have been. All for a chance at glory…

    Next: Jays' Nest Podcast Episode 29: Trade Deadline Talk

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