Blue Jays 2023 trade deadline retrospective: Were the deals worth it?

Looking back to last year’s trade deadline, how have the moves that the Jays made turned out?
Pittsburgh Pirates v Toronto Blue Jays
Pittsburgh Pirates v Toronto Blue Jays / Mark Blinch/GettyImages
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Blue Jays trade pitchers Sem Robberse and Adam Kloffenstein to the Cardinals for pitcher Jordan Hicks.

For their biggest splash at the 2023 trade deadline, the Jays brought in hard-throwing right-handed reliever Jordan Hicks to help solidify the back end of their bullpen. Hicks delivered as expected, as he displayed his mastery over opposing hitters while posting a stellar 2.63 ERA and 1.08 WHIP with 22 strikeouts in 24 innings of work. However, he never really got the opportunity to shine for the Jays in the postseason as they suffered an early exit at the hands of the Minnesota Twins.

Hicks would ultimately leave the organization and head into free agency where he signed on with the San Francisco Giants with the opportunity to become a starter once again. As a starter, Hicks has held his own so far in 2024 with the Giants, amassing a 4-2 record with a stellar 2.82 ERA and 1.19 WHIP in 13 starts.

Currently ranked 12th and 15th respectively in the Cardinals organization top prospects list according to MLB Pipeline, both Sem Robberse and Adam Kloffenstein have developed into key arms in their minor league system. Robberse had put together a solid season so far with the Cardinals’ Triple-A affiliate Memphis Redbirds prior to Thursday’s start, posting a 3.53 ERA and 1.09 WHIP with 65 strikeouts in 66.1 innings pitched. Kloffenstein also has strung together a decent year with Memphis, compiling a 4.50 ERA and 1.12 WHIP in 12 starts.

Who is the winner? 

If the Jays had retained Hicks for the 2024 season, then the trade would probably feel more evened out. However, the departure of Hicks had left a huge hole in the Jays’ bullpen for 2024. Together with the progression of both Robberse and Kloffenstein, who could soon be seeing some big league action, the winners here are obviously the Cardinals, as well as Hicks for getting his wish and being successful as a starter once again.

So overall, one has to agree that the moves that the Jays made at last year’s deadline did have an impact on their playoff run last season with the solid performances of Cabrera and Hicks. However, the overall value of the moves have since become negligible with Cabrera struggling this season and Hicks and DeJong moving on and excelling with other teams. With the prospects that they gave up doing well so far in 2024, in retrospect, the trade deadline by the Jays in 2023 is turning out to be a regrettable failure to say the least.