1. July 31st, 2017
Blue Jays receive: OF Teoscar Hernandez and OF Nori Aoki
Houston Astros receive: LHP Francisco Liriano
While this didn’t seem like the biggest trade at the time, the development of Teoscar Hernandez on the Blue Jays roster over the past few seasons has turned this deal from a minor transaction to an absolute fleecing for the Jays.
Heading to the Astros was veteran Liriano, who was acquired the season prior as part of the package deal from the Pirates. Beginning the season in the rotation for the Jays, Liriano struggled to a 5.88 ERA through 18 starts, amassing a 1.621 WHIP and 54 earned runs through 82.2 innings. With the Jays entering a rebuild, Atkins sent the veteran southpaw to Houston in exchange for two outfielders in Aoki and Hernandez. With the Astros, Liriano struggled as a reliever, posting a 4.40 ERA through 20 outings before pitching to mixed results in the postseason. Liriano would leave the team via free agency prior to the 2018 campaign.
Aoki didn’t last long with the organization but Hernandez stuck around, struggling over his first few seasons to impress on the Jays active roster. He was hitting around the .230-.240 average mark in 2018 and 2019 while seeing some increased time on the diamond but it all came together for the Dominican product in 2020.
During the shortened campaign, Hernandez posted a .919 OPS with 16 home runs and 34 RBI through 190 at-bats, earning a Silver Slugger Award and some MVP votes in the process. Setting out to prove that season was not a one-off, after a brief IL stint due to COVID-19, Hernandez would become a force on the Jays lineup, finishing the year with a .296/.346/.524 slash line, 32 home runs, and a .870 OPS through 143 games. His 116 RBI put him close to the top of the leaderboards and he won another Silver Slugger Award while also earning All-Star honours. Hernandez has also been improving on the defensive side of the ball over the past two seasons, posting a -2 bDRS in both 2020 and 2021, which is miles ahead of the -7 and -12 bDRS he put forward the two seasons prior.
Overall, the Hernandez trade has paid huge dividends for the Blue Jays, who now have the star slugger under contract control for two seasons of arbitration under the previous CBA. Losing Liriano really cost the Blue Jays nothing looking at the bigger picture while Hernandez has turned into a staple on the Jays roster, begging the question of when the club will start considering extending their star outfielder.
June 28th, 2018
Blue Jays receive: INF Santiago Espinal
Boston Red Sox receive INF Steve Pearce
Pearce would join the Red Sox and become the World Series MVP later that season while Espinal joined the Blue Jays minor league system and emerged as a potential everyday player last year, posting a .781 OPS through 92 games while also being the best defensive candidate at the hot corner. If the Jays do not find an outside source for third base and Espinal can prove last season was not a fluke, this trade will easily move into the top ten.
August 27th, 2020
Blue Jays receive: RHP Taijuan Walker
Seattle Mariners receive: OF Alberto Rodriguez
Acquired alongside Ray and Stripling, Taijuan Walker was a force for the Jays to finish out the campaign, sporting a 1.37 ERA through six stars with 25 strikeouts through 26.1 innings. Losing Alberto Rodriguez is not terrible but Walker leaving after the half-season is tough to put on the rankings list, especially since he took a step back with the Mets in 2021.