The trade of Aaron Sanchez, Joe Biagini, and Cal Stevenson to Houston brought back Derek Fisher, and also a lot of questions for Blue Jays fans.
It’s been a tough last week or so for Blue Jays fans, especially if you were among those that still felt attached to the playrs from the 2015-16 rosters that made the postseason and reignited a lot of passion for baseball in Canada.
We knew a lot of these trades would happen before they did, especially for a rebuilding club like the Blue Jays. Marcus Stroman was rumoured to be on the market for weeks or even months in advance of being sent to the New York Mets, and others like Daniel Hudson and David Phelps were likely trade targets for other contending teams. Still others like Ken Giles and Justin Smoak, who were expected to get traded this month, remain on the Blue Jays’ roster.
However, an 11th hour trade on Wednesday has to take the cake as the biggest surprise of the trade deadline season, at least for Blue Jays fans. For those who missed it, the Blue Jays sent Aaron Sanchez, Joe Biagini, and Cal Stevenson to the Astros in exchange for Derek Fisher.
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And I don’t understand this move one little bit.
You can debate whether or not the Blue Jays got a fair return for Stroman in the Mets deal, but we really won’t know the answer to that for a few years, or at least until Simeon Woods Richardson gets further along in his development. However, when it comes to the Astros deal, I feel a lot more comfortable commenting at this early stage. That’s because I don’t understand why Ross Atkins and the front office were in such a rush to make a move here.
Yes, Sanchez has been awful this season and I get that it may have been a “get what you can” situation for him. In that case, I still would have preferred that the Jays let him try to build up his value in the second half and trade him this winter, but that much I can accept.
However, adding a reasonably valuable bullpen arm like Biagini AND a prospect like Stevenson must mean that Fisher is going to be a nice piece of this rebuild, no? I hate to burst any optimistic bubbles, but that’s far from a guarantee, even if the Blue Jays are apparently really high on him. The reality is, this is an almost 26-year-old outfielder who hasn’t been able to consistently crack the roster in Houston over the last few years.
Not only that, I don’t understand why the Blue Jays had to pay so much to get him. Sanchez has a year and a half of contract control, Biagini has three more after this season, and Stevenson is a reasonably solid prospect in his own right who hasn’t reached the highest level. Even hours after the trade, I keep expecting additional details to come out. I’ll concede that none of those guys are premium trade chips right now, but I can’t believe that Fisher was all that came back.
If the former Astros outfielder becomes a legitimate lineup fixture going forward then maybe I’ll eat my words, but this one feels like a deal that was done prematurely.