As announced yesterday, the Blue Jays have traded J.A. Happ to the Yankees for infielder Brandon Drury and outfield prospect Billy McKinney. This is an interesting trade for the Blue Jays. Normally at this time of year, if you’re the team that’s out of contention, you’re usually getting back relatively unproven prospects when making a trade. Drury however is no unproven prospect. He’s an established big leaguer, and at just 25, has plenty of upside.
Just five months ago the Yankees thought enough of Drury that they went out and swung a three-team deal with Arizona and Tampa Bay to acquire the young infielder. The plan was that Drury would take over the starting duties at 3rd base for New York. And if it wasn’t for some issues he had earlier in the season with severe migraines, along with the unexpected breakout performance of Miguel Andujar, Drury would likely still be starting for the Yankees at the hot corner.
As nice as it is to be bringing in a player of Drury’s quality, this is still somewhat of a strange move for the Blue Jays. Toronto is already loaded with infielders, that you have to wonder where Drury, who plays predominantly 2nd and 3rd base will fit-in. One would assume that with the addition of Drury, this surely means Yangervis Solarte’s time with the Blue Jays is coming to a close. The other thing to consider, is with the emergence of Lourdes Gurriel Jr., and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. banging on the door to get into the big leagues, how will Toronto work Drury into the line-up on a regular basis come next season?
For now, what this trade allows the Blue Jays to do is slot Drury in at 3rd base. They can then trade Solarte for a heck of a lot more compared to what they gave up for him back in January when they acquired the charismatic infielder from the Padres. Solarte has been solid for the Blue Jays…displaying plus power, the versatility to play anywhere in the infield, and has become a bit of a fan favourite. Unfortunately, he lacks hustle and at 31 isn’t getting any younger. Drury meanwhile is five years younger, is only going to get better, and has all the motivation in the world to really stick-it to the Yankees. Now all the Blue Jays need to do is figure out how to get him in the line-up.