10. August 31st, 2020
Blue Jays receive: RHP Ross Stripling
Los Angeles Dodgers receive: RHP Kendall Williams and OF Ryan Noda
In a move to try and bolster the pitching corps during the shortened 2020 campaign, the front office decided to dip into their prospect pool and trade Kendall Williams and Ryan Noda to the Dodgers in exchange for five-year veteran Ross Stripling.
As a member of the Dodgers, Stripling had experience in both the rotation and bullpen, owning a 3.68 ERA through 143 appearances (59 starts) before being shipped off to Toronto. One of the big advantages about Stripling at the time was his experience at the MLB level and contract control, as the Jays were looking to crack the postseason for the first time since 2016 and needed some pitching help to get them over the edge.
The front office made a few more deals at the deadline, which pushed Stripling to the bullpen minus two starts but he struggled with his new club, posting a 6.32 ERA with 11 earned runs through 15.1 innings of work. The following campaign saw Stripling move back to the rotation and he started off rough once again, hitting the IL after his second start of the season and owning a 5.11 ERA come late May through eight appearances (he followed an opener one game but went seven innings, so I am counting it as a start). He would go on to finish the year with a 4.80 ERA through 101.1 innings while spending the entire month of September in the bullpen.
On the flip side, Atkins sent former second-round pick Williams and depth minor league outfielder Noda to California, which at the time seemed like a high price to pay considering those who followed the Jays minor league system was pretty keen on the right-hander from the famed IMG Academy.
In his first full season within the Dodgers farm system, Williams posted a 4.53 ERA through 23 outings in A ball, finishing the year with a 2.1 BB/9 and an 8.4 K/9 through 93.1 innings of work. Noda had a strong season in AA, smashing 29 home runs to the tune of a .901 OPS.
This trade ranks in at number ten because Stripling could be the Jays’ fifth starter this year and because it is still a bit too early to see whether Williams will pan out to be a starter at the Major League level. Stripling might be an important cog in the machine that is the 2022 Jays starting rotation but could be moved to the bullpen if he starts to struggle early into the season or if reinforcements are brought in (whenever the season begins). Regardless, he will be a factor on the Jays active roster this year and in my opinion has the inside track for the last spot barring an outside acquisition or a Nate Pearson show-stealing Spring Training.
If Williams does end up becoming an everyday starter and Stripling implodes this season before becoming free agent eligible at the end of the year, this trade will most likely move from #10 to trades the club would like to forget.