8 Blue Jays trade heists people don’t talk about enough

Which trades in Toronto Blue Jays history have they come out clearly on top even though some haven’t realized it?
Sep 24, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN   Toronto Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista (19)
Sep 24, 2016; Toronto, Ontario, CAN Toronto Blue Jays right fielder Jose Bautista (19) / Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
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Blue Jays acquire Teoscar Hernández and Nori Aoki from the Houston Astros for Francisco Liriano

With the Jays preparing a rebuild as a result of a huge down year following their 2016 postseason run, they traded away one of their key acquisitions from the previous year in pitcher Francisco Liriano to the contending Houston Astros for Nori Aoki and a power-hitting prospect at the time in Teoscar Hernández at the 2017 trade deadline. The Astros looked to Liriano to be their experienced lefty out of the bullpen down the stretch; however, he sputtered to a 4.40 ERA and 1.67 WHIP in 20 appearances and was subsequently not retained following the end of the 2017 season.

Aoki was never much in the rebuilding plans for the Jays, as he was eventually granted his unconditional release towards the end of August. So if the Jays were to recoup anything coming out of the trade, it would have to come from the hidden potential of Hernández. However, one of the key flaws to Hernández’s game despite his enormous power was the fact that he was prone to the strikeout, leading to a low batting average and limiting his effectiveness in the process. 

Thankfully, Hernández eventually evolved into the impact power producer that he is today by raising his average to respectable levels, even though his whiffs still remained an issue. As a result of his slight adjustment, he became a two-time Silver Slugger, along with becoming a first-time All-Star while batting in the heart of the lineup for the Jays for the majority of his six seasons with the club. In 609 games, Hernández hit a solid .263 with an .823 OPS, 129 home runs and 369 RBI, with many of it coming in key situations over the years. In doing so, he was a critical part of the wave of young talent that brought the Jays back into contending status at the start of this current decade. So compared to the negligible two months that Liriano ended up spending with the Astros, let’s just say the Jays won this one in a landslide.