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.