Now that the non-waiver deadline has passed, we’re taking a look back at what each team was able to accomplish before 4 p.m. ET on July 31. Next up in our recap series, the Toronto Blue Jays.
Toronto Blue Jays (50-57), 8.5 GB in AL East, 6 GB in AL Wild Card
ACQUIRED: OF Nori Aoki (from HOU), OF Teoscar Hernandez (from HOU), C Miguel Montero (from CHC), 1B Rob Refsnyder (from NYY), LHP Thomas Pannone (from CLE), INF Samad Taylor (from CLE), OF Eduard Pinto (from TEX)
TRADED: LHP Francisco Liriano (to HOU), RHP Joe Smith (to CLE), RHP Jason Grilli (to TEX), 1B Ryan McBroom (to NYY)
Toronto entered the deadline in a weird place, being pretty much out of the running for a playoff spot despite entering the season as a potential contender. Some called for a major rebuild north of the border, but the club insisted on its plan to contend in 2018 and decided against shopping Josh Donaldson, Marcus Stroman, Roberto Osuna and others.
The Jays did decide to put their pending free agents on the market, shopping Francisco Liriano, Marco Estrada and Joe Smith while listening, to an extent, on Jose Bautista. They didn’t get a suitable offer for J.A. Happ, who is a free agent after next year, and never came close to dealing him.
Deadline day saw both Liriano and Smith shipped to the bullpen of top AL contenders and the Jays netting a surprisingly good return for the struggling Liriano. The Astros, who seemed destined for a bigger move but settled for Liriano with hours to go before the deadline, had a surplus of outfield talent and no room for veteran Nori Aoki and prospect Teoscar Hernandez. The Jays, in a perfect fit, needed corner outfield depth and were able to acquire both. An impressive haul for two months of a lefty with a 5.88 ERA.
Estrada stayed put despite the need for starters throughout the game, so it stands to reason the Jays could look to re-sign him over the winter. He’s likely a candidate for a one-year deal after a bad season, so it would make some sense for them to bring him back as they look to get back to the playoffs next year.
Toronto’s strategy is a gamble, especially with Donaldson and Happ becoming free agents after next year and the series of high-salary contracts still on the books for the club. If the Jays aren’t in contention next July, expect some major moves involving their pending free agents.
For a complete list of our trade deadline recaps, click here.