The other day, after the Blue Jays traded J.A. Happ to the Yankees for an infielder (Brandon Drury) and an outfielder (Billy McKinney), Ross Atkins mentioned that forthcoming moves will be happening that would include a return of pitching prospects. It was Atkins’ way of reassuring Blue Jay fans that pitching had not been pushed to the wayside by a front office that’s been gung-ho on adding infielders the past six months.
My only thought after hearing what Atkins had to say about Toronto being on the receiving end of pitching prospects, was who could Toronto possibly trade that would provide a return of such highly valued prospects?
If the Blue Jays couldn’t get pitchers back for a quality starter like Happ, who then could they trade that would? To be honest, the idea of it being Roberto Osuna didn’t even cross my mind. And that’s not because I didn’t think the Blue Jays wouldn’t move him at some point over the next little while. It’s just for the past month we’ve been hearing all about trade rumours related to players like Happ, Marco Estrada, Steve Pearce, Curtis Granderson, Seunghwan Oh, Tyler Clippard, and John Axford. What we hadn’t been hearing much about was Osuna…it was almost like he was swept under the rug.
I understand that the public still knows very little of the specifics as to what happened with Osuna and this unfortunate incident. But the fact that the Blue Jays would trade him like this says enough for me as to the seriousness of his actions.
No two players more so than Osuna and Josh Donaldson helped turn things around for Toronto back in 2015 when they were finally able to make the post-season after 22 long years. Without Osuna, the Blue Jays likely don’t even make the playoffs in 2015 and 2016. Regardless of how great a pitcher he is and everything he’s done on the ball field for this franchise, this was a move that had to happen. And I think as more information comes to light as to what exactly did occur, the more people will agree that the Blue Jays made the right decision.
As for the trade itself, this isn’t an awful move for the Blue Jays with respect to the players coming back in return. In fact, it’s the kind of trade that could very well come back to reward the Blue Jays big-time. When Ken Giles was at his best in 2014/2015, he had an ERA of 1.56 with 150 SO in just 115.2 innings. Giles is in a bit of a funk at the moment, but if he can get back to being the dominant closer he was not too long ago, he’s capable of being every bit as good as Osuna, if not better. Not to mention the Blue Jays will also be receiving two promising pitching prospects in Hector Perez and David Paulino.