Blue Jays: Did Cal Stevenson really have to be included?

TORONTO, ON - APRIL 26: General manager Ross Atkins of the Toronto Blue Jays speaks to the media before introducing Vladimir Guerrero Jr. #27 before his MLB debut later tonight against the Oakland Athletics at Rogers Centre on April 26, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - APRIL 26: General manager Ross Atkins of the Toronto Blue Jays speaks to the media before introducing Vladimir Guerrero Jr. #27 before his MLB debut later tonight against the Oakland Athletics at Rogers Centre on April 26, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /
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The Blue Jays made a head-scratcher of a swap with the Astros yesterday, and I’m still trying to figure out how Cal Stevenson was included in the deal.

After a flurry of trades over the last few days and weeks of speculation, thankfully we’re done with the trade deadline for another season. It’s exciting and all, but it’s been a tough one for Blue Jays fans, even those of us that buy into the rebuild in Toronto right now.

Personally, after most of the trades were announced I went and did some reading and watched some video on the Blue Jays’ newest organizational assets. In most cases, the more time I spent doing that the better I felt about what had just happened. There is one standout exception though, as the more I looked into the trade with the Houston Astros yesterday, the more I shook my head.

In case you missed it, the Jays sent Aaron Sanchez, Joe Biagini, and Cal Stevenson to Houston in exchange for Derek Fisher, a soon-to-be 26 year old outfielder who has a little over 300 plate appearances in the big leagues. I’m sure I’m not the only one who is confused by the trade, and I say that for a number of reasons, including the fact that they basically gave Sanchez away for nothing at his lowest point of value.

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While that’s frustrating on it’s own, for the life of me I can’t figure out why the Blue Jays ended up having to send a prospect back to get Fisher, even if they do like his potential. I really do understand that Sanchez’s value was near rock bottom, but the Astros obviously saw something they liked in order to bring him in. The same goes for Biagini, who had re-established himself as a solid reliever after a couple of seasons of trying to convert to a starter, posting a 3.86 ERA, and bringing 3+ seasons of contract control.

I realize that duo isn’t a premium package, but shouldn’t it have been enough to get a guy like Fisher? I’m not trying to run the guy down here, but we’re talking about a player who will be 26 in a few weeks, and who has yet to establish himself as a big league regular. Sure, the Astros are contenders in every sense of the word, but shouldn’t be have beaten out Josh Reddick or Jake Marisnick for playing time by now if he was that good? The Astros also had Tony Kemp until they dealt him prior to the deadline as well. Fisher was a long way from the top of the depth chart in Houston. I mean, the Jays got Teoscar Hernandez for Francisco Liriano, when he was having a terrible season.

Maybe the Astros insisted on having some sort of prospect thrown in, and Ross Atkins and the front office really see something in Fisher. But did it have to be a prospect with potential? I know Stevenson wasn’t at the top of the list for the Jays, but he was having a good season in High-A Dunedin, slashing .289/.388/.393 in 90 games and 336 at-bats and was ranked #25 in the Jays’ system by MLB pipeline. He also posted a ridiculous .511 OBP in 59 rookie ball games last year, impressing enough to be included on Baseball America’s “sleepers to watch” list for 2019. He has plenty of work to do to become a MLB player, but the 22 year old has talent.

Perhaps I’m griping about something that doesn’t really matter in the grand scheme of things, but Stevenson’s inclusion in the deal really surprised me. I know I’m being a little dramatic with this statement, but it felt like a bit of a slap in the face, even if it may prove to be inconsequential in the long run. But the Blue Jays had already given up a solid reliever who can contribute in Biagini, and a worthwhile lottery ticket on Sanchez, which extends to the 2020 season. I likely would have scratched my head a bit if it had been a 2-1 swap.

dark. Next. Management disappointment during trade season

Did they really have to fork over more to get Derek Fisher? I guess the answer is yes, but I still don’t get it.

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