What Just Happ-ened?

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It seems like this is becoming an annual occurrence, isn’t it? Alex Anthopoulos miraculously pulls off a blindsided trade that absolutely nobody saw coming. It’s like AA has said in the past … “if something gets leaked, then it’s probably inaccurate”.

The red flags starting going off late last night after it was announced that Travis Snider was on his way to Boston, but the club could not confirm which move was being made to put him on the roster. It turns out Snider was just a small piece in the grand scheme of things.

My initial reaction to the 10 player trade with the Houston Astros was one of confusion. It didn’t really make much sense because there wasn’t that one coveted centrepiece player or prospect involved in the deal.


My gut tells me though that Blue Jays management really sees something in J.A. Happ, as it was rumoured back during the Roy Halladay trade that Happ was going to be one of the centrepieces involved.

That certainly makes sense, because if Alex Anthopoulos was simply looking for starting pitching depth, there’s certainly a myriad of arms out there. Jonathan Sanchez, Jeremy Guthrie and Brad Bergesen were all readily available on the market.

More so than the talent, I think it’s the control aspect that is the most important part of the pitchers that the Blue Jays acquired from the Astros. Brandon Lyon will probably walk at the end of the season as a free agent, but J.A. Happ is under team control through 2014, and David Carpenter is under control through 2015.

Mid to back end starters might be a dime a dozen, but that is not one of the luxuries the Blue Jays have right now. And with Kyle Drabek out for potentially all of 2013 and no timeline on Drew Hutchison’s return, the Blue Jays need arms to bridge the gap.

Thanks to @KevinBassStache for informing me that J.A. Happ actually had the most quality starts among the Houston Astros pitching staff with 12. In fact, Happ has more quality starts on the season than anybody on the Blue Jays pitching staff as well.

So if the Blue Jays were looking for somebody to eat up innings and to minimize the damage, J.A. Happ certainly fits the bill. David Carpenter projects to be a middle relief arm, which is another thing Toronto is in desperate need of.

As far as the players that were dealt from Toronto to Houston, I think it’s more about quantity than quality. Sure, the Blue Jays sent a good chunk of prospects to the Astros, but with the incredible depth in the minor league system, Toronto can obviously afford to ship off some players in return for Major League talent.

Swapping Ben Francisco and Francisco Cordero ($6.0375 million total) for Brandon Lyon ($5.5 million) essentially just cancels each other out as the “bad contract swap meet” portion of the deal.

At first glance, this trade doesn’t appear to have the potential to be a game changer for either side. There was a lot of talent that changed hands today, but out of all 10 players involved it would be surprising if even three or four guys emerge as above replacement level.


This isn’t the type of trade that’s going to help the Blue Jays win a championship, but at least it will aid in keeping the pitching staff afloat until Alex Anthopoulos can figure out what the next move is.

Ian Hunter

Ian has been writing about the Toronto Blue Jays since 2007. He enjoyed the tail-end of the Roy Halladay era and vividly remembers the Alex Rodriguez "mine" incident. He'll also retell the story of Game 5 of the 2015 ALDS to his kids for the next 20 years.

2 thoughts on “What Just Happ-ened?

  • July 21, 2012 at 3:44 pm

    The more I read about this trade, the less excited I am about it (excited may be too strong of a word). At first I was just happy that something happened period. Then as everyone sifted through the details, it appears that it was just a trade of necessity for the time being, and that's fine.
    I would say the best part of this whole thing though, is freeing up room for Snider to come up and finally get another chance. I'll be rooting for him!

    • July 23, 2012 at 12:46 am

      It doesn't really seem like a dealbreaker for either side, right now. In the long run, I think this trade has the potential to benefit the Astros a little more, since the prospects arguably have more upside.

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