“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 for Aledmys Diaz; the Blue Jays basically replace Goins with Diaz and improve in practically every facet of the game.
Ryan Goins career fWAR (449 games): 0.0
Aledmys Diaz career fWAR (190 games): 2.9
— Ian Hunter (@BlueJayHunter) December 2, 2017
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.
Assuming he doesn't work out a deal to come back, Goins did some nice things in his time here. But I do like that the Jays seem to want to raise the floor there.
— Andrew Stoeten (@AndrewStoeten) December 2, 2017