When the trade for Jose Berrios was consummated, there were mixed reviews. There were the fans who thought it was too risky to move on from top prospects Austin Martin and Simeon Woods-Richardson. Others saw Berrios as the missing puzzle piece on a win-now team, while a third faction was in wait-and-see mode. How would he perform in a larger market with a bigger spotlight on him, and could he be retained?
After making 12 starts down the stretch for a Jays team in a wild-card race until the final day of the regular season, he performed well going 5-4 with a 3.58 ERA. It was obvious that extending Berrios would be one of the first things management would focus on in the fall. While it made sense to sign the right-hander considering the quality of the prospects surrendered to acquire him, the question now is did they do it too soon?
Berrios struggled mightily in the first game of the season when he was pulled after giving up four runs and getting just one out. He’s had a couple of rough outings since then, including lasting only two and third innings and giving up six earned runs against the Angels on Sunday. The Blue Jays have hitched their wagon to Berrios to the tune of seven years and $131 million. He’s paid like their number one starter but he’s pitched like their number five starter.
The interesting thing is that both Berrios and Robbie Ray have struggled unexpectedly this season. They had matching 4.75 ERA’s entering Sunday’s action although Berrios’ lousy outing ballooned his to 5.62.
For the better part of two years I’ve been wondering, when will the Blue Jays trade Randal Grichuk? Just a couple of weeks before the start of this season, I finally got my answer. He was traded to the Colorado Rockies for Raimel Tapia and minor league infielder Adrian Pinto.
It’s not that Grichuk is a bad player, he’s quite useful actually. It’s just that he’s been part of a crowded and talented position group, one that includes younger players under team control for several years.
It’s a good thing he wasn’t moved last year because it turns out he was needed early and often and he was the team’s most consistent player for much of the early part of the season. He could’ve been utilized this season too.
Tesocar Hernandez and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. have both struggled with injuries and haven’t really gotten going yet, although the latter has heated up lately.
This is a hard trade to evaluate because it’s not as simple as who’s the better player? Tapia gives the Jays a different look in the outfield: a speedy, lanky, high-contact guy who can be used in a variety of ways. It’s taken him a little while to get going but he’s been better lately. He’s hitting .241 with 13 RBI. Grichuk has fit in nicely with the Rockies and is batting .279 with five homers and 25 RBI.
Tapia’s contact ($3.95 M, in first-year of arbitration) is much more palatable and, who knows, the undersized Pinto may be able to help out in a few years.
Yimi Garcia was added as another hard-thowing reliever and David Phelps took advantage of his minor-league deal and has added much-needed depth to the Jays bullpen.