2018 has not been kind to the Toronto Blue Jays, but with the team out of the playoff race and in rebuilding mode, the team is taking the necessary steps to turn around the franchise.
Making trades had to happen for this team. With multiple players contracts set to expire after this season, it is important for them to receive something instead of letting talent walk for absolutely nothing.
On Wednesday night the dominoes began to fall after Toronto dealt relief pitcher Seunghwan Oh to the Colorado Rockies for infielder Chad Spanberger, outfielder Forrest Wall and a player to be named later or cash considerations.
Oh, 36, pitched well for the Blue Jays. In 47 innings this season he is 4-3 with two saves, 55 strikeouts and has an era of 2.68. For a player they signed in February, flipping him for two prospects in a down year for your organization is a big move for Toronto and certainly adds depth to the Rockies bullpen.
As for Spanberger and Wall, TSN’s Scott Mitchell says they are “projects” for the Blue Jays who could one day end up being in the major leagues. Wall brings speed and the ability to be a depth outfielder while Spanberger has shown power. Wall will report to double-A New Hampshire while Spanberger will head to single-A Lansing.
— Robert Murray (@ByRobertMurray) July 26, 2018
The bigger deal though came on Thursday when Toronto showed that they aren’t scared to trade within their division. The Blue Jays dealt J.A. Happ to the New York Yankees for infielder Brandon Drury and outfielder Billy McKinney.
Happ, 35, has been the bright spot during the Blue Jays rough 2018 campaign. In 20 starts this season he has a 10-6 record and a 4.18 era. In the 114 innings pitched he has managed to tally 130 strikeouts.
As for the return. 25-year-old Drury can play anywhere in the infield. Drury does show some power and can produce if he is regularly in the lineup. One of the biggest issues is he didn’t fit the Yankees line up. If he doesn’t crack the Blue Jays everyday line up he is a very good player to have as a no.2. For the 23-year-old McKinney who was also the 20th ranked prospect in the Yankees system, his journey began with the Cubs but after struggling in the minors where he was sent to New York in the Aroldis Chapman trade. He has shown flashes of brilliance and if he stays on the right path he has potential to be an everyday outfielder.
The trade for Happ is a good move by Toronto making sure they acquire assets but at the same time, it is a strange one. Happ was the most sought after pitcher on the trade block this season and many would’ve expected a bit more of a return for him. The Blue Jays may not have gotten top prospects but they received players who can make a difference. The 2018 all-star is also one of if not the top pending free agent starting pitcher at the end of this season.
#Yankees getting J.A. Happ for Drury and Billy McKinney, per @Feinsand and @JonHeyman. Drury alone would be quite a score for #BlueJays. He is 25 with three more years of control, albeit with nowhere to play in NY. Happ is 35 and a rental.
— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 26, 2018
Other notable Blue Jays players rumored to be in trade talks have been pitcher Marcus Stroman, closer Roberto Osuna and third baseman Josh Donaldson. Those three players would require a much heavier price tag but as of now, it is just teams calling in and checking to see what it would take to land them.
It is tough to say what other moves will be made by Toronto. Entering a rebuild acquiring prospects should be the main goal for this team and with the two trades, GM Ross Atkins has made it no doubt looks as if he is doing what he can to acquire young talent.