Today the Houston Astros and Toronto Blue Jays got together on a huge, 10-player deal, which sent starter J.A. Happ and relievers Brandon Lyon and David Carpenter to the Blue Jays in exchange for right-hander Francisco Cordero, outfielder Ben Francisco, minor leaguers Joe Musgrove, Asher Wojciechowski, David Rollins and Carlos Perez, and a player to be named later.

The deal is not notable for the importance of the players involved – Happ is no longer the up-and-coming lefty he once was, Lyon is a decent soon-to-be free agent, and David Carpenter has been down this year after a successful debut in 2011. I could do the same dance with the players and prospects coming from the Blue Jays.

Instead, the deal is notable because (1) it’s the first big deal of the trade season, aside from the Carlos Lee trade, and (2) it could impact the Blue Jays’ desire to pick up a starter like Matt Garza. Although Happ is no substitute for Garza, the acquisition could signal the Blue Jays’ desire to take a lesser option (for cheaper), and see what happens. And, who knows? By adding a couple relievers, too, maybe they stick around in the race long enough for an injured starter or two to return, and put them in contention without having to trade the farm for someone like Garza.

The Garza market may have taken another hit in a separate deal, involving the Rockies and Royals. Today, the Royals sent recently DFA’d starter Jonathan Sanchez to the Rockies for starter Jeremy Guthrie. Each has been a disappointment this year, but Guthrie is the more likely to have success over the rest of this season (both are free agents at the end of the year, but Guthrie makes a couple million more). Thus, the Royals arguably just upgraded their rotation, and, like the Blue Jays, may be looking to take on a lesser option in the rotation, crossing their fingers that they can get by without dropping a huge sum of prospects for a Garza (to whom they’d been connected in recent days).

We’ll have to see if things play out that way, and whether these two deals get the ball rolling on other trades.

  • hansman1982

    Interesting to see the volume of prospects being traded. Also, I think 3 of those sent to houston were in Toronto’s top 30.

  • ETS

    so at best this is neutral for the cubs, at worse it signals less market demand?

    • Brett


  • MightyBear

    Yeah not real happy about these two. Less likely two teams with some of the best prospects are probably out on trades with Cubs for pitchers.

    • Luke

      The Happ trade does give us a little more insight on how players are being valued in this trade market. Unfortunately, it was a 10 player trade, so that insight is rather clouded. Early reactions seem to be on the side that Happ resulted in a higher than expected return. That could be good news for the Cubs as they try to maximize their return on Dempster.

      • Serious Cubs Fan

        I doubt its good news for the cubs. Teams aren’t willing to give top prospects for quality pitchers like Garza. Does not look good for the cubs. If they trade him during the offseason his value will serious diminish. I mean yes he may net you a top prospect but not the huge haul Theo/Jed want for him. I just want to sell him off now and get a good hall of prospects for him.

        • ETS

          I’m not sure I get that out of this trade. The injury-plagued, hanging on to a thread of hope Blue Jays might not be willing to part with top prospects, but that doesn’t mean the Red Sox, Braves, Dodgers and about 9 others aren’t.

          It is bad news if the Jays aren’t willing to spend more because one less buyer means less demand but what effect does that have if there really are 9 teams interested? Hard to say but my guess is minimal.

          If I were a Jays fan I’d be mad. Either make moves to legitimately compete or SELL. Not being willing to commit one way or the other is bad idea. The good news as a Cubs fan is it appears they are not selling this year. That would be substantially more detrimental to the Cubs than this trade.

        • The Man. The Legend. The RBI King: Hack Wilson

          how about instead siging him and adding a anibal sanchez or edwin jackson next year; try to compete. nl central winner could have 85 wins. the 2nd wild card will probably be under 90. chicago is NOT an expansion town. 3M plus fans should not have to sit thru another “tanked” season. a few good guys on 3 or 4 yr deals won’t be the end of the world. almora-baez-soler are all 3 to 5 yrs away.
          the cubs have 38M committed nex year………..hello team theo and ricketts; this is not kansas city!

          • dudeski

            patchworking the team to 85 wins is why the team is in the mess that it is

      • Brett

        I think that’s right – I wasn’t even going to try and parse out the “here’s what this trade says about pitcher value” part. So many moving pieces (and a PTBNL, too).

        • Toby

          Brett, do you think Toronto made this trade in seeing if they can get back in the playoff picture and will go after Garza if they get back into playoff picture?

          • Brett

            Maybe. But that’s an awfully short window.

  • Ben

    I don’t like the trades above as far as how it affects us, but the Blue Jays have been falling out of the race quickly, and the injuries are piling up for them. I think they are a great match for Garza, but had doubts about them wanting to pull the trigger. Hopefully the Tigers or Braves step up, and make the deal happen.

    • BD

      I agree. If the Cubs don’t move Garza this month, I could potentially see Toronto being interested in the offseason.

  • Cheryl

    What are the chances that Dempster doesn’t go to the Dodgers and winfd up in Atlanta? There’s still time for a deal but could Theo and company decide against it and offer Dempster a contract renewal at the end of the season? They don’t hae to make this deal.

    • Ben

      I highly doubt Dempster is here in 2 weeks. I think the price is high now (as it should be) and if we get close to the deadline, a deal will be made. Dempster has value beyond what we could have predicted to start the season. That’s why a deal will be made. It just makes too much sense at this point.

      I’m more iffy on Garza, but still think the Cubs will be able to move him for prospects they want.

      • ETS

        I highly doubt Demp is with the cubs by game time tonight.

  • Jonski

    Well I didn’t consider the Royals true players for Garza after the report came out late last night that the Royals and Pirates had interest in Moholm and While I agree that the Blue Jays have a awesome farm system the pitching prospects are much like Braves proceed with caution because of all the arm injury’s as in maybe rushing them or developing them wrong.

  • Joepoe321

    You have to think though in the jays trade they saved all of there top prospects why? For what? For who? Garza?

    • Brett

      Or for … themselves?

      • Ted


    • Jonski

      Gose,or Marzolik,with Alveraz,.McGuire,Hutchison …I would do that deal don’t think they will part with catching prospect and if were trading Garza,Maholm,and Demp then we have to have 1 pitcher coming back to go in the rotation now.Its sounds great to say we won’t be contending until 2015 or 16 ,but in my honest opinion is if it takes that long somebody will be looking for a different job .

  • Joepoe321

    Almora will debut Monday!

  • Brandon

    Been reading for a while now, first time poster. Firstly, great site brett. According to 1esenthal, talks could drag on a few more days in regards to dempster….

  • Joepoe321

    AlmorAMAZING debuts Monday!

  • Nathan

    I heard Buster Olney on ESPN this morning saying that the Cubs keep turning down every offer the Dodgers have thrown out. He pointed out that the Dodgers have made several of their prospects unavailable, at least at the moment. This is not good considering the Dodgers do not have a particularly strong farm system. If they keep out a bunch of their top prospects I think the Cubs should look elsewhere, which I think they will do. I trust that Epstein and Hoyer will only trade with teams that offer a fair return. Now, if the Dodgers come around and offer some better guys, he might just get traded to them as soon as today.

    • someday…2015?

      Im guessing those two untouchables are Lee and Reed… If that’s the case, like you said, its time to move on to other teams who can offer a fair return.

  • Norm

    The team that gets Dempster will have him for about 12 starts.
    That’s it.
    How much is that worth in prospects?

    • Brett

      If they believe the difference is playoffs or no playoffs? A lot.

      (But a team would be foolish to think so black and white.)

  • terencemann

    All we really see here is 4 teams who are not going to win this season soon trying to bolster their faltering teams. I don’t think it means Toronto is totally out on any good pitchers.

  • jimi lives on

    all the espn analysts and their twitter accounts should die cuz 75% of their speculation is bullshit thats just meant to build hype. just like that one guys tweet that there was a better than 50% chance that Dempster would be dealt before tonight. skrew all these rumors