We tend to react quickly when a trade is announced (myself included), but how does the Blue Jays’ July trade with the Astros look six weeks later?
I felt like they had missed an opportunity to get a stronger trade package in exchange for Marcus Stroman, and I was really upset when they dealt Aaron Sanchez to the Houston Astros in a three for one swap. Even if I didn’t mind the idea of a left-handed power-hitting outfielder like Derek Fisher coming over, it felt like a big price to pay.
Without rehashing the whole thing all over again, the reason I was upset was because I felt like the Blue Jays basically gave Sanchez to the Astros in the trade package, as Houston also received Joe Biagini and Cal Stevenson in the deal. In my mind, the latter two names should have been close to, or enough to get the deal done without having to include Sanchez. I know he pitched very poorly for the Blue Jays this season, but he was the AL ERA champion as recently as 2016, and he’s still just 27 years old.
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All that said, a lot has changed for me already when it comes to that deal. For starters, I’ve had the benefit of stepping away from it and not just reacting to the news without doing a little bit of research. I’m still not sure that I’m sold on Fisher’s future, but I’m looking at things a lot differently now.
Biagini has struggled since he got to Houston and there’s a good chance that he’s not even going to make their playoff roster. The Astros certainly hoped for better, but I doubt that they were expecting him to be their 8th inning guy or anything. A depth bullpen arm isn’t going to bring back a lot, even if they’re an entertaining character.
Secondly, Sanchez might have started his Astros tenure in remarkable fashion (he threw the first six innings of a combined no-hitter in his first start after the trade), but he’s brought basically nothing to the table for the World Series contenders since. He’s now on the IL for the remainder of the year and will undergo shoulder surgery, and his future in Houston could even be in doubt. Flashes of brilliance following by frustration and disappointment. With all due respect, does that sound familiar to anyone?
As for Stevenson, I originally saw that he was considered to be among the Top 30 Blue Jay prospects, and wondered why he needed to be included in order to make this deal happen. That said, I don’t think it’ll matter much in the long run. The 23-year-old (his birthday was yesterday!) light-hitting outfielder played this year in A-ball, and will need to make significant strides in order to reach the big leagues, and likely has an uphill battle at best.
So now that I’ve talked myself (and maybe you?) out of being too upset about what the Blue Jays lost in the trade, Fisher has to have sealed the win for the Blue Jays on this one, right? Well, that hasn’t exactly been the case either. In fact, he’s slashing just .188/.293/.375 with six home runs and 15 RBI in 128 at-bats, striking out 46 times against 15 walks. He’s been pretty shaky on defence at times as well, including last night against the Red Sox.
Add it all up, and what we’ve really got here is a situation that has yet to resolve itself, but also one likely not worth getting as upset about as I originally thought. I still believe there’s potential for Biagini and even Sanchez to have meaningful careers in the big leagues, and I’ll admit that I don’t know what Fisher’s future in Toronto holds, especially because he’ll be out of minor league options next year.
Still, with the benefit of some time and perspective, I can understand why the Blue Jays’ front office took a chance on Fisher and wanted to get a look at him, especially because it was reported that they were interested in him for a while. That audition is bound to continue into next season, and hopefully he’ll eventually show us all why he’s a former first-round pick and someone the Astros were reluctant to let go of for a long time. However, even if he doesn’t turn into a fixture of the Blue Jays’ lineup, I’m less upset about it than I was six weeks ago. Funny how often that happens.