There are some Blue Jays fans who feel they’ve seen enough to move on from Derek Fisher and even Teoscar Hernandez. It’s way too early for that though.
Since we don’t have a MLB season to watch at the moment, I know I’m not alone in spending a little more time playing video games than I normally would. Naturally, being the baseball addict that I am my first choice is to play MLB the Show, and I’ve been digging into the game a fair bit lately.
I’m one of those people that will play as the Blue Jays and keep the roster as close to reality as possible, and that’s more or less what I’ve been doing lately as well. With that in mind, I’ve been laughing about who my most productive players have been, even if this is just a video game.
Not surprisingly, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. has been one of my better hitters, and if I’m going to give you a meaningless ranking, I’d place him second. The other two in the top three? Teoscar Hernandez and Derek Fisher, and it’s not really that close. I’ve been rotating them between right field and designated hitter, and they’ve been consistently among my best producers after playing 30 or more games.
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Why does any of this matter? It doesn’t really, it’s just me playing a video game. However, it got me thinking about how satisfying it would be if both Hernandez and Fisher became stars for the Blue Jays. Obviously it would be great for the team to have two more legitimate pieces to the core they’ve been assembling for the last couple of years, but it would also have one more gratifying byproduct. In a small way, the Blue Jays would have the chance to stick it to the Houston Astros, and that’s worth something these days.
For those that have forgotten, Fisher was acquired last year in exchange for Aaron Sanchez, Joe Biagini, and a minor leaguer named Cal Stevenson, and his short Blue Jays tenure hasn’t gone so well thus far. That said, Sanchez was a short-lived acquisition for the Astros and remains a free agent after he was non-tendered, so the Astros haven’t had a lot of value back yet yet. Biagini had mixed results last year, and it’s hard to say how Stevenson’s career will work out.
As for Fisher, he still has the talent to be a dangerous hitter, even if he has yet to put things together at the MLB level. The Blue Jays are hoping he can do just that, and if he can perform like he has in my video game, it’ll turn out to be a trade they really regret. It’s possible they already do, although Fisher didn’t exactly give them reason to have seller’s remorse with his performance in Toronto.
Hernandez arrived in Toronto alongside Nori Aoki in 2017, traded for Francisco Liriano. It feels like he’s been around longer than 2.5 seasons, but questions remain about his long-term fit. That said, Hernandez has flashed big power at the plate, and if he can continue to improve on defence he could still be a serviceable corner outfielder. If he can reach his fullest potential at the plate, his most significant asset, it might be a deal the Astros regret several years after it happened. Even as things stand now, they didn’t get a whole lot out of Liriano in 2017, although they eventually had to clear some space in the outfield, which is part of why Hernandez was traded back then.
We could also include Trent Thornton in this same storyline of “sticking it” to the Astros, as he came from the Houston organization as well. He was acquired ahead of the 2019 campaign in exchange for Aledmys Diaz, and already the Blue Jays look like they received solid value in return for the utility infielder. Thornton had mixed results last year as a rookie, but he was the Blue Jays’ most consistent starter over the course of the full season, and it’s hard to imagine what they would have done without him.
None of Fisher, Hernandez, or Thornton are trending toward All-Star status at this point in their careers, but I’m confident that most or even all of them will have solid MLB careers. That’ll obviously be helpful to the Blue Jays, but as an added bonus, hopefully we can rub it in the Astros’ faces someday too.