Blue Jays: Trent Thornton trade looking like highway robbery for Atkins

ARLINGTON, TEXAS - MAY 03: Trent Thornton #57 of the Toronto Blue Jays delivers a pitch against the Texas Rangers in the first inning at Globe Life Park in Arlington on May 03, 2019 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images)
ARLINGTON, TEXAS - MAY 03: Trent Thornton #57 of the Toronto Blue Jays delivers a pitch against the Texas Rangers in the first inning at Globe Life Park in Arlington on May 03, 2019 in Arlington, Texas. (Photo by Richard Rodriguez/Getty Images) /
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Over the offseason the Blue Jays sent Aledmys Diaz to Houston in exchange for Trent Thornton, and so far it’s been an outstanding trade for Ross Atkins and the front office.

You win some and you lose some when it comes to making trades in Major League Baseball, and so far Ross Atkins has come out on top of most of the deals he’s made as the general manager of the Toronto Blue Jays.

There have been a few good ones already, but arguably the best move he’s made was a smaller deal with the Houston Astros that was made early in the offseason. After a solid season in Toronto, Ross Atkins and company sent Aledmys Diaz to the Houston Astros in exchange for a Triple-A pitcher by the name of Trent Thornton. In a lot of ways it was viewed as a minor deal at the time, but so far it’s paid big dividends for the Blue Jays.

Thornton has been a valuable member of the rotation so far this season, and he turned in his best start of the season in his last turn through. Over seven innings he allowed just one hit and kept the Rangers scoreless. Unfortunately, he didn’t get a win for his troubles because the Blue Jays couldn’t score until the 12th.

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The 25-year-old has had up and down results through his first seven big league starts, but his Friday night gem lowered his ERA a full run from 5.08 to 4.08. He’s also picked up 38 strikeouts in 35.1 innings, and has fared much better than he was expected to. The absence of Clayton Richard, Ryan Borucki, and Clay Buchholz for opening day gave him the opportunity, and he’s run with it. Now that Matt Shoemaker is out for the season, and the two southpaws still haven’t returned to the big league roster, his spot feels fairly secure.

Because he still has some minor league options available to use, it is possible the Blue Jays could potentially send him down at some point this year, or it’s possible that he struggles as the league continues to adjust to him. However, at this stage he’s fourth on the team in WAR (0.6) and tied with Freddy Galvis. Only Marcus Stroman, Ken Giles, and Eric Sogard have managed a higher WAR mark.

At the end of the day, Aledmys Diaz is a solid player, but the Blue Jays didn’t even have room for him on their roster this season if they wanted to give the young prospects a proper opportunity, let alone worrying about turning him into a part of the rebuild. He’s also making the deal look even better for Aktins as he’s currently hitting .229/.241/.412 as well. Unfortunately for the Astros though, they had to either find room for Thornton on their contending team or risk losing him in the Rule 5 draft. Getting Diaz is better than losing him for nothing I guess.

The argument for trading Marcus Stroman this year. dark. Next

The fact that they were able to acquire a starting pitcher, and one with solid upside, is a big win for Atkins and company. Even if he only contributed for one good season the Blue Jays would have been smart to make this deal. When you consider that he still has room for growth and several years of contract control, it was a no-brainer that is already looking like a big-time bargain.

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