Yesterday the Blue Jays went ahead and traded Aledmys Diaz to the Astros in exchange for 25-year old minor-league pitcher Trent Thornton. On paper, one would understand why Toronto, a team with more quality infielders than they know what to do with, decided to move Diaz. At the same time however, this trade is somewhat of a head scratcher.
The Blue Jays had a chance to sell high on a pretty good ball player and instead chose to sell relatively low. I understand Toronto is looking to beef-up their starting pitching depth, but acquiring a player with a 4.23 ERA over four seasons in the minors hardly accomplishes that.
This past season the Blue Jays lost a decent starting pitcher in Chris Rowley when he was claimed off waivers by Texas. The Blue Jays front office talks at length of the importance of them improving their stock of pitchers. But are they doing a good enough job of this when pitchers like Rowley, Jose Fernandez, and Carlos Ramirez are being plucked away by other teams? It doesn’t look all that good when you lose pitchers like Rowley, Fernandez, and Ramirez for nothing. And then trade away a quality infielder such as Diaz for a pitcher with less credentials than the players they’ve been losing on waivers.
As for what this trade does for Toronto’s log-jam of infielders, it certainly begins the process of alleviating that situation. This move likely confirms that Toronto is confident with the progress being made by Troy Tulowitzki as he continues to work towards his return. Come spring training, there’s going to be some serious competition with respect to Toronto’s infield. Obviously Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is all but guaranteed 3rd base when they finally decide to bring him up. Which leaves shortstop and 2nd base to be contested amongst Tulowitzki, Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Brandon Drury, and Devon Travis.
One has to think if Tulowitzki is healthy, shortstop is his. So barring a trade of any further infielders, can you imagine the internal competition between Gurriel, Drury, and Travis to determine who starts at 2nd base next season?