Grading the Blue Jays’ last offseason through the first half of the 2023 season

How has the offseason moves by Jays' GM Ross Atkins paid off for the Blue Jays as they hit the midway point of the 2023 season?
Ross Atkins
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Teoscar Hernández to the Seattle Mariners for Erik Swanson and prospect Adam Macko

Part of the Jays offseason plan was to improve the outfield defence, so with Teoscar Hernández being one of the liabilities in the outfield in previous years, he was dealt to Seattle for reliever Erik Swanson and pitching prospect Adam Macko. Swanson has been a revelation for the Jays’ bullpen, forming a strong duo with Jordan Romano in closing out ballgames. For the season, he is 2-2 with a whopping 21 holds, along with a 3.16 ERA, 0.98 WHIP, and 48 strikeouts in 42.2 innings pitched. Macko, on the other hand, has struggled mightily with the Jays’ High-A affiliate Vancouver Canadians, but still has time in his development to turn it around.

Hernández had a slow start to the 2023 season with the Mariners, before busting out big time. In doing so, he has hit .250 with a .744 OPS, with 15 home runs and 50 RBI, numbers that seemed quite similar to Gurriel’s.

Trade Grade: B+ - Not counting Macko, since he is still developing, but Swanson has been everything the Jays expected him to be, and probably would have deserved an A if it wasn’t for the offensive output that Hernández has delivered on that the Jays currently lack somewhat of.

Chavez Young to the Pittsburgh Pirates for Zach Thompson

For this minor trade transaction, the Jays acquired Zach Thompson from Pittsburgh in exchange for prospect Chavez Young for starting pitching depth. This trade could be summed up easily in that it helped neither team. Thompson struggled while pitching for the Jays’ Triple-A affiliate Buffalo Bisons for much of the 2023 season and was never called up even when the starting rotation was in need. Not only that, he was later outrighted to Buffalo and removed from the 40-man roster. As for Chavez Young, he has regressed in his development and doesn’t appear to be making the big leagues any time soon.

Trade Grade: D+ - The trade didn’t end up helping anyone, but it hurt the Jays more because when they needed the pitching depth to fill the hole in the rotation when Alek Manoah needed a stint in the minors, the so-called depth Thompson brought wasn’t even given a single thought.

Overall key offseason trades grade: B – The Thompson for Young trade is practically negligible, so the other two trades kind of evened themselves out as they have ended up helping the Jays improve certain areas (defence and pitching), but leaving a whole lot of deficiency in another (offence) as a result.