Blue Jays: Why the Trade with the Houston Astros Was a Terrible Deal

Craig AmosFeatured ColumnistJuly 20, 2012

HOUSTON,TX- JULY 06:  J.A. Happ #30 of the Houston Astros pitches against the Milwaukee Brewers on July 6, 2012 at Minute Maid Park in Houston, Texas.(Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Bob Levey/Getty Images

Earlier today reported a 10-player deal between the Toronto Blue Jays and Houston Astros.

The Jays will send Francisco Cordero, Ben Francisco, Jos Musgrove, Asher Wojciechowski, David Rollins and Carlos Perez to Houston, along with a player to be named later. 

In return, the Jays receive Brandon Lyon, J.A. Happ and David Carpenter.

Now, let me put in a qualifier here. If this deal is in any way part of a grander scheme that Alex Anthopoulos is cooking up, then we will have to wait and see the result before passing judgement. If, however, this trade is the endgame, then it has to be considered an outright failure.

The Jays got very, very little here. In Happ, the team will get someone to fill out the rotation, but not someone who will win the team a whole lot of ball games.

With a 7-9 record and a 4.83 ERA this year with the Astros, Happ has the look of a fourth or fifth starter. At best.

And how will his skills translate when he moves over to the AL East? Probably by getting him demoted to the minor leagues. At least that'll be the case next year, when the team has a full complement of pitchers to rely on.

And at 29 years old, don't look for Happ to make a lot of progress moving forward in his career.

Lyon is a mediocre reliever who will provide an upgrade over Cordero, but he certainly won't be the difference between a 2012 trip to the postseason and heading home early.

Carpenter showed some good stuff out of the pen in 2011, but has struggled to the tune of a 6.07 ERA this season.

So I guess he's like the team's new Cordero?

What the Jays received in this deal is a trifling upgrade over what they already had. They improved a very small amount for a very short duration. Standing alone, their return on the trade looks minimal. But considering what they gave up, the deal looks absolutely terrible.

Francisco and Cordero are movable, and trading Rollins and Perez is forgivable. But Musgrove and Wojciechowski? That's questionable, at best.

Wojciechowski began the season by struggling, but has been on fire in A-ball over the past month or so. He looks to be on track for an MLB debut next year and could potentially end up as a back-end rotation starter.

Musgrove is still cutting his teeth as a professional ball player, but could conceivably wind up being a front-line major league starter down the road. 

In fact, outside of the Jays' big three pitching prospects—Noah Snydergaard, Justin Nicolino and Aaron Sanchez—Musgrove was arguably the team's most valuable young arm. Though an argument could be made for Daniel Norris.

The deal will improve the Blue Jays in 2012 by a minuscule fraction of what they need to vault into the playoffs. Yet the team gave up on a soon-to-be major leaguer and a young pitcher with tremendous upside.

It looks, at least at this point, like the team was willing to give up a lot later for essentially nothing right now. 

We'll have to wait and see if any of the Jays' new acquisitions are used to lure away bigger prizes in a future deal. But if not, this trade was certainly not Anthopoulos' best.