The Toronto Blue Jays made some a pretty big trade at the deadline late last month, packaging top prospects Austin Martin and Simeon Woods-Richardson and shipping them off to the Minnesota Twins in exchange for starting pitcher Jose Berrios.
The move was met with both excitement and anguish by the Jays fanbase, as fans were a bit torn on the trade based on the quality of the prospects given up to acquire Berrios but also reveled in the excitement of the Blue Jays front office recognizing that they needed to make some moves and not being afraid to deal top prospects for established talent at the major league level.
Factor in that the Jays also acquired some bullpen help in Trevor Richards, Adam Cimber, Brad Hand, and Joakim Soria, as well as outfielder Corey Dickerson, and it looked like the Blue Jays was serious about contending for the postseason once again this year.
Quite a few fans were not too happy to see Austin Martin sent to the Twins, mostly because the Blue Jays were quite lucky to draft him in the first place. Nobody predicted that the Vanderbilt star would still be on the draft board when the Blue Jays were up to select at 5th overall and they wasted no time in adding Martin to the organization.
I can honestly say that I was a bit shocked that Ross Atkins was willing to deal Martin but looking at his past history of trades, he does not shy away from trading prospects drafted in the higher rounds (Kendall Williams, Griffin Conine, etc) but this is the first time a first-round pick has been traded under his watch.
The Toronto Blue Jays dipped into their farm system to acquire Jose Berrios from the Twins, sending Austin Martin and Simeon Woods-Richardson to complete the deal.
Martin would be assigned to the Twins AA affiliate, the Wichita Wind Surge, and so far he has played in ten games, slashing .294/.478/.441with two doubles, one home run, and seven RBI with a .919 OPS. He has also walked seven times since joining the Wind Surge and also owns six strikeouts with one stolen base during his brief tenure with his new club.
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Defensively, the Twins have Martin playing both shortstop and center field, with the right-handed batter splitting his time between the two spots almost evenly. At shortstop, he has two errors through 43.2 innings at the position and six putouts at center field through 35.0 innings, sporting .833% and 1.000% fielding percentages respectively.
Prior to the trade, Martin was also in with the Blue Jays AA affiliate in the New Hampshire Fisher Cats and was slashing .281/.424/.383 with two home runs, 16 RBI, and a .807 OPS.
He apparently seems to be on good terms with the trade, interacting with former teammates on social media.
Simeon Woods-Richardson was also traded to the Twins alongside Martin but was with the United States Olympic team at the time and has not appeared in a game for any Twins affiliate yet.
Overall, only time will tell on who wins this trade in the long run. Giving up two top prospects for one and a half seasons of Jose Berrios is a tall order but signals the going rate for an established pitcher at the major league level.
Even if Martin or SWR do turn out to be major league starters, this trade shows the Blue Jays fanbase that the team is committed to winning a World Series now and was willing to move prospect capital to do it, a new notion for Ross Atkins and Mark Shapiro since inheriting a veteran club back in late 2015.