Since 1976 the Toronto Blue Jays have been a very active trader. This could have been attributed to their first general manager, Pat Gillick.
Gillick made some of the most memorable trades for the Blue Jays, that changed how the league saw them. The Jays have made waves across the league multiple times, and have turned the fortunes of the franchise around with some groundbreaking trades. I’ll be looking at some of the greatest Blue Jays trades of all-time, and seeing if the Jays won, or lost the trade. I’ll start with the trade Gillick’s first major trade that brought Fred McGriff over from the Yankees.
This is what the trade looks like:
This is a major trade for the Blue Jays because of that one name. While McGriff wasn’t well-known when he was traded to the Jays, he became one of the teams best hitters after coming north. He hadn’t played in a game for the Yankees before the trade, so they had to watch as he became a great hitter.
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But McGriff isn’t the only reason the Blue Jays should be happy. Out of the players, they gave up, Murray and Dodd, only Murray played for New York. Dodd was released five months after the trade. And while Murray did play for them, he only played three seasons and accumulated -0.8 WAR, which means he was below replacement level every year he played for them.
As for the players, the Jays got, McGriff didn’t play for the Jays until 1986 when he played in only three games, but in 1988 he broke out, accumulating 6.2 WAR, 34 home runs, 82 RBI, and a .282 batting average. While that was a monster season, he got even better the next year, setting a career high with 36 home runs, finishing 6th in AL MVP voting. He was also a major piece in the Roberto Alomar trade, which I’ll talk about more in another post.
But, McGriff isn’t the only player the Jays got that did well. Collins, an outfielder and first baseman, played two years with the team but put in a lot of value in that short amount of time. In 1983 he had a mediocre season, with 1.6 WAR from 1 home run, 34 RBI, and 31 stolen bases. In the next season, he led the league with 15 triples and set a Blue Jays franchise record with 60 stolen bases. That record still stands today.
The last player the Jays obtained in the trade was pitcher Mike Morgan. He only played in 16 games with the club, with a less-than-appealing 5.16 ERA.
In all, the Jays won this trade hands down. They got better players than the Yankees and got a piece that would be used in one of the greatest trades in franchise history.
All of the stats and player info are from baseball-reference.com. Links to each player’s profile are highlighted.