The Blue Jays were among the more active teams in the lead-up to Wednesday’s 4 PM ET trade deadline. The club dealt infielder Eric Sogard, starters Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez, and relievers Joe Biagini and Daniel Hudson. In exchange for those players, the Jays acquired two players to be named later, pitcher Kyle Johnson, Anthony Kay, Simeon Woods-Richardson, and Derek Fisher.
With a 42-67 record, it’s no surprise that the Jays decided to pawn off their players and recoup as much value as possible. For Jays fans, though, they watched some of their favorite players — particularly Stroman — leave for greener pastures. The hope is that some of these new players will eventually grow into new fan favorites.
Oddly, that’s not how GM Ross Atkins characterized the Jays’ moves in a conference call. Per Scott Stinson of the National Post, Atkins bragged that the Jays “turned 14 years of control into 42 years of control.”
Atkins is no stranger to these kinds of quotes. At Pitch Talks in February 2018, Atkins said of free agency, “You’re talking about aging players and the trend of overpaying a player’s aging curves has come to an end across baseball.” Earlier this year, in order to justify keeping Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in the minor leagues to begin the season so as to gain another year of contractual control of him, Atkins said, “I just don’t see [Guerrero] as a major league player.” Guerrero, who should have been promoted to the majors in 2018, has a .767 OPS and 11 home runs in 78 games since his call-up in late April.
Can you feel the excitement in Toronto? Fans will flock to the Rogers Centre, wearing their fresh home white jerseys with “Contractual Control” written on the back. Concession stands will offer memorabilia cups that describe how many years from now players like Kay and Woods-Richardson will reach free agency. Rather than include actual players in TV ad spots, an accountant will simply detail how much money the Jays will save because so many of their players are not yet eligible for arbitration.