Blue Jays made the best of a bad situation with Roberto Osuna

BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 03: Roberto Osuna /

The Blue Jays traded Roberto Osuna to the Houston Astros on Monday in a deal that can be described as making the best of a bad situation.

As the deadline grew closer to Roberto Osuna‘s return to the Blue Jays, admittedly I got a little more on edge. I knew that there would be a section of the fan base that would welcome him back with open arms, but I was also certain there would be some backlash against the club for putting him back on the field this season.

We don’t have to worry about how it’ll go down anymore.

The Blue Jays solved the problem on Monday by sending Osuna to the Houston Astros ahead of the non-waiver trade deadline later today. The trade was a bit of a shocker for several reasons, even if their match with the Astros on a trade made a great deal of sense on paper. Houston needed a closer and they have big playoff aspirations, and Osuna definitely fits the mold of what they need from a performance standpoint.

More from Jays Journal

Where he no longer fit was with the future of the Blue Jays, even if he has three years of club control remaining. It’s not that the team couldn’t have used him, but I honestly believe they’re better served moving on from the PR battle that would come with having him around, at least for quite a while. As things stand, Osuna’s court proceedings haven’t even played out completely, but he’s allowed to return to the field on August 4th once his 75 game suspension has been served.

The Blue Jays could have tried to re-endear him to their fan base, but it would have taken a lot of work, and there would have been a lot of hard feelings. After guys like Gregg Zaun, Kelly Gruber, and others have been swiftly dealt with for indiscretions (granted, not by the front office), it would have felt like a bit of a double standard in keeping Osuna around. The organization and all of baseball have tried to hold themselves to a high standard of personal conduct, and the allegations against the young closer put the Blue Jays in a difficult spot.

It’s always a debate when a professional athlete messes up, and the employing team has a lot to evaluate before they proceed. Some situations are worse than others, and while we don’t know for certain what went down with the 23 year old and the other party involved that night, the situation doesn’t look good at all, even if he still maintains his innocence, and will do so throughout the trial. I’ll even allow for the possibility that he’s completely innocent, and will prove as much once the court proceedings have come to a conclusion. Even then though, I still support the Blue Jays moving on from the headache around this situation, and what the decision means for the franchise.

It’s incredibly difficult to come back from something like this, even if you are innocent, and Osuna and the Blue Jays both would have faced a lot of public wrath. The fact that he was scheduled to return before the legal proceedings were even resolved made it that much more difficult. In theory every person should be innocent until proven guilty, but it’s not that easy, especially in the era of social media. Some fans have already written him off in their hearts and minds, while others feel completely the opposite. Moving on removes that divide in the fan base, and the negative distraction that would have inevitably accompanied his return.

The trade also allows the young man to get a fresh start with a new franchise, and assuming the legal issues don’t derail his career, he can likely move on and hopefully have learned some valuable lessons. That wouldn’t have been nearly as easy in Toronto, both because of the pain the fan base felt with the disappointing news (and yes also the rumours), but also just simply the fact that they’re the only Canadian franchise, and that affects how the organization has to view and treat it’s fan base as well. Let’s just say that this sort of thing might be overlooked a little more easily in some other sections of North America.

Add up that the Blue Jays arguably won’t need to put huge emphasis on their closer as they rebuild over the next couple of years, that Osuna only has three years remaining, and that they managed to get a pretty solid return, especially given the circumstances, and this feels like a big win for Ross Atkins and Mark Shapiro even if it truly stinks to give up a player as talented as Roberto Osuna. That said, value is relative to the immediate moment, and things changed forever back in May when he was arrested and put on leave.

For what it’s worth, I can honestly say I hope that Osuna is innocent and can eventually put the last few months of his life behind him. I hope that he can prove his innocence and go on to have a successful career in Houston, and wherever else he may land beyond that. As I said above however, I still think it’s the best decision for all parties involved including Osuna, the roster going forward, and most importantly, the fans. Making a statement as an organization was important here, and their current status as non-contenders made that a lot easier.

dark. Next. The details of the big Roberto Osuna trade

All things considered, I believe the Blue Jays made the best of a bad situation, and if we’re being fair as fans here, that’s all we can really ask for.