MLB Trade Deadline: Alex Anthopoulos Prepares the Blue Jays for Contention

Ian Malone@ianthomasmaloneCorrespondent IIIJuly 27, 2011

HOUSTON - JUNE 08:  Colby Rasmus #28 of the St. Louis Cardinals flies out to right field as he breaks his bat in the second inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park on June 8, 2011 in Houston, Texas.  (Photo by Bob Levey/Getty Images)
Bob Levey/Getty Images

With only four days remaining before the MLB trade deadline, it was only a matter of time before Toronto Blue Jays GM Alex Antholopolous made some moves.

Today, he sent longtime reliever Jason Frasor and prospect Zach Stewart to the Chicago White Sox for Edwin Jackson and Mark Teahen. 

Jackson would not remain a Jay for long, as he was then sent to the St. Louis Cardinals, along with Octavio Dotel, Marc Rzepczyski and Corey Patterson, in exchange for Colby Rasmus, Brian Tallet, Trever Miller and P.J. Walters. 

AA may not be finished with trades, but regardless, I think it's safe to say the deadline has been a great success for Toronto. Frasor, the longest-tenured player on the team and the club record-holder for appearances by a pitcher, will be missed.

The rest of them? Not so much. 

The big pieces in this deal are Teahen, Rasmus and Tallet. All three came cheap because of their mediocre performances thus far. Rasmus was supposed to be a big part of the Cardinals' postseason plans, which may be foiled by the Pittsburgh Pirates, of all teams. 

It will be interesting to see Teahen’s role on the Jays as it unfolds. Third base has been an issue all year with unproductive hitters such as Edwin Encarnacion, Jayson Nix and John McDonald manning the hot corner. Jose Bautista has been playing there since the emergence of Eric Thames, but his arm is too valuable in right field. 

With the imminent call-up of Brett Lawrie, DH seems to be the logical spot for Teahen. Encarnacion is expendable, and his days as a member of the Jays are likely limited. He’s No. 2 on the first base depth chart, but he’s never been known for his defensive abilities. Encarnacion’s not really known for his offensive abilities anymore either. 

Three players to watch before the deadline is over are Rajai Davis, Aaron Hill and Jon Rauch. Rauch is a near lock to be traded, but the futures of Hill and Davis are up in the air. Davis isn’t worth much, but there’s a logjam in the outfield. Hill has option years after this season, which are unlikely to be picked up unless he has a stellar second half. 

It’s possible Teahen or Rasmus could be flipped again, but I doubt it. These guys are low-risk, high-reward type players, and the demand for their services among contenders is not likely to be high. The Jays would be better off just keeping them; both are under contract after the season, making them potential trade bait for next year. 

This deal was a great move for Toronto. The second half doesn’t hold much playoff hope, but it allows Toronto to get a glimpse at players they will have control over in the offseason. Plus, there wasn’t much point in keeping impending free agents around. 

Toronto’s playoff hopes aren’t far off the horizon. AA found another piece of the puzzle today.