3. Mitch White (RHP) and Alex De Jesus (INF) for Nick Frasso (RHP) and Moises Brito (LHP)
When the Blue Jays really needed a starter, they got one in Mitch White. While he wasn’t the type of household name fans were expecting, White brought a quietly impressive resume over from his time with the Los Angeles Dodgers. A career FIP of 3.88 at the time of the move, White excelled at missing barrels and limiting hard contact. Through four starts in a Blue Jays uniform, his 3.34 FIP compared to his inflated 5.89 ERA shows that he’s run into some bad luck. While White wasn’t who fans were expecting, he is a more than welcome addition to the staff. The Blue Jays also acquired a young prospect by the name of Alex De Jesus. The young native of the Dominican Republic appears to be a well-rounded player, spending time in the middle infield and posting an .811 OPS at two levels of A ball.
The haul given up concerns me a bit, as I thought Nick Frasso was someone worth keeping an eye on. His eye popping strikeout to walk numbers are worth noting, and he was on track to impact the Blue Jays possibly next season. However, with the emergence of guys like Ricky Tiedemann, the Blue Jays young pitching remains strong. Moises Brito has some impressive numbers of his own, though out of the bullpen.
Overall, this was a necessary and well played acquisition by the front office. White has more years of team control, and offers the club versatility for the years ahead.
2. Anthony Bass (RHP) and Zach Pop (RHP) for Jordan Groshans (INF)
This past deadline, in addition to the clear need for a starting pitcher, there was also a desperation for relievers. High leverage, high potential arms were on the Blue Jays shopping list at the beginning of August, and the mission was accomplished after this trade with the Miami Marlins. Anthony Bass, a former Blue Jay, was in the midst of a career season before the trade. His overall 1.43 ERA on the season, paired nicely with a sparkling 0.95 WHIP, make him a clear high leverage reliever. Zach Pop, on the other hand, comes with less experience. The Blue Jays love what the Brampton native has to offer, however, and as do I. He ranks in the 89th percentile in average velocity, while only walking 0.9 batters per nine innings this year. His ability to pound the zone with such velocity makes him an intriguing arm for years to come.
The haul for these two right-handers was none other than former first round pick, Jordan Groshans. The highly touted prospect wasn’t turning many heads during his time in Buffalo this season, as his lack of power and consistency was cause for concern. With the infield being a strength of the Blue Jays, both now and in the future, Groshans was expendable. This was a simple case of dealing from an area of strength, to strengthen an area of weakness, and the trade has already paid dividends.
1. Matt Chapman (3B) for Gunnar Hoglund (RHP), Kevin Smith (INF), Zach Logue (LHP), Kirby Snead (LHP)
Ranking as the best trade over the past season, the acquisition of Matt Chapman has meant a lot to the club. The consistency, durability, defence, and offence have all been noteworthy, and he’s the best third baseman Toronto has seen since the likes of Josh Donaldson. Chapman is having a season on par with the best of his six year career, and the Blue Jays even extended him throughout the rest of his club control, making him a Blue Jay through 2023.
Though his OPS+ is sitting at a noteworthy 121, his peripherals suggest he could be performing even better. Fangraphs shows Chappy has an average exit velocity in the 96th percentile, a hard hit rate in the 98th percentile, and other important categories like chase rate and barrel percentage all being above the 92nd percentile, it could be argued that Chapman’s base stats are an underrepresentation of just how good he’s actually been.
This trade has the chance to be an absolute swindle by Ross Atkins, as the haul given up to Oakland hasn’t exactly amounted to much just yet. Zach Logue and Kirby Snead have both been worth negative WAR, while Kevin Smith’s OPS+ of 51 doesn’t offer much to write home about. The potential future asset for Oakland, Gunnar Hoglund, just started throwing professionally this season after recovering from Tommy John surgery. He’s thrown eight innings, but his high upside is what made the Blue Jays take him in during the first round of the 2021 draft.
Overall, this trade is a clear win for the Blue Jays, and by far the best the front office has pulled off since the offseason began last winter. Chapman has been everything the Blue Jays needed him to be, and they get him for next season as well.