The Blue Jays Make Moves: Koehler and Goins Gone, Diaz Acquired

“Transaction Friday” was in full effect as the Toronto Blue Jays were active before and after the non-tender deadline. Finally, some moves to talk about; even though most of them might not move the needle very much.

First off: Tom Koehler and Ryan Goins were non-tendered. Koehler doesn’t come as much of a shock because his salary in arbitration was simply way too high for a player his calibre. Koehler may have been a nice depth piece to hang onto, but with his salary pushing $6 million and set to rise even further, there’s no way the Blue Jays were going to keep him.

When it comes to Goins, as a glove-only guy, he was bound to be non-tendered sooner or later. He’s been an okay piece of infield insurance for the Blue Jays these past few years, but at this point, we know what Goins is. And with no options left, there was no flexibility on the roster for a player like him.


I do recall there was a bit of a debate heading into Opening Day 2017 whether Goins would make the cut on the 25-man roster. It was essentially a race between him and Melvin Upton Jr. and in a somewhat surprising move, the Jays released Upton and kept Goins.

In retrospect, that was the correct call because the Blue Jays’ middle infield imploded this past season and they needed a body to play shortstop and second. However, with a number of viable infielders in the minors, Goins became dispensable.

Enter the trade forĀ Aledmys Diaz; the Blue Jays basically replace Goins with Diaz and improve in practically every facet of the game.

Diaz also comes with five years of team control and he put forth a very impressive rookie campaign in 2016.

With such a small sample size at the Major League level, it’s hard to gauge what kind of player Diaz is. My guess is he isn’t quite as bad as his 78 wRC+ in 79 games with the Cardinals last year, and he isn’t quite as good as his 133 wRC+ in 2016.

Even if Diaz is closer to a one-win player, he’s a vast improvement over Goins in the middle infield. There’s some upside to acquiring a 27-year-old with several years of team control and the cost was merely a prospect in the form of J.B. Woodman.

This move puts less of an emphasis on the immediate development of a player like Richard Urena, who was called up due to necessity in September. Urena never played above the AA level prior to the 2017 season and put forth some lukewarm results by season’s end.

Again, this isn’t a transaction that’s going to move the needle very much or transform the Blue Jays into playoff contenders, but as Stoeten said, it raises the floor on the club’s roster. Not a bad move by the Jays, at all.



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.

6 thoughts on “The Blue Jays Make Moves: Koehler and Goins Gone, Diaz Acquired

  • December 2, 2017 at 9:28 am

    Ryan Goins is the type of player the hinders teams from progressing. Guys like him do such an admirable job covering for often injured better players that teams fall into the trap of thinking they don’t need to address the issue of the better players being injured often. Give them too much playing time and the “scrapping underdog” narrative starts to form and then fans fall into the trap of thinking they’re actually a better player as well.

    I’m not saying it’s easy to get rid of Goins (I like the guy!), but teams can’t move forward when they stop recognizing replacement level guys as replacement level. This is a good move for the Jays.

    • December 2, 2017 at 10:16 am

      Well put Samson. I was thinkiing about posting a comment but after reading yours there is no need. You pegged it 100 percent.

    • December 2, 2017 at 1:03 pm

      Excellent point. He was pretty good in the field, but at this point, we know the kind of player that Goins is. He seems like the type of late-game replacement you’d want in a pinch, but not a guy who’s playing 120-130 games in the field.

    • December 2, 2017 at 2:18 pm

      You hit the nail on the head Samson.

  • December 2, 2017 at 9:45 am

    It is a shame that the Jays gave up Woodman for Diaz. A Urena for Diaz would have benefited the Jays more as Urena has little chance of making the MLB as even a bench player. He showed virtually no improvement from 2017 Spring Training to 2017 September call up. The defensive errors he made in Spring Training mirrored the defensive lapses of his September call up. He should have been taken off the 40 man roster. Even his offence is poor.

    • December 2, 2017 at 1:04 pm

      Maybe the Jays are holding back Urena for another trade … who knows?

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