Be it resolved: There’s failure in this trade.
With all of the trade rumours currently circulating around the Blue Jays, there was absolutely nothing suggesting a trade that would move arguably their top prospect, Brett Wallace. But earlier today, it was announced that Wallace was being traded to the Houston Astros in exchange for 19 year old outfielder Anthony Gose, whom the Astros acquired in a trade with the Philadelphia Phillies.
Gose seems like a scout’s wet dream. He’s a young, athletic, speedy, “toolsy” player that Alex Anthopoulos described on the FAN 590 as “having great leadership abilities, a swagger to him and a confidence to him.” It’s fitting that the Jays would be interested in a player like this considering their emphasis on scouting.
However, my immediate reaction is that Brett Wallace is too high a price to pay for a player that is years away from being MLB ready, if he ever will be. Wallace, no matter how you might compare him to Lyle Overbay, could step into almost any lineup in the American League and contribute. His .301/.359/.509 line in Triple A, despite his uneven splits and playing in the hitter friendly Pacific Coast League, attests to this.
Still, I’m forced to agree with Les Rationales who say it’s way too early to tell who has won the trade, mainly because Gose is so young. At this time, I can’t claim the trade to be a disaster, but I can say that it represents a failure at some point for Alex Anthopoulos.
Prior to the Halladay deal with Philadelphia, the Jays repeatedly emphasized that they required Major League ready prospects in exchange for their ace. What they ended up getting in Michael Taylor and Kyle Drabek certainly verged on that requirement. Of course, Taylor, a top 50 prospect was flipped for Wallace, also a top 50 prospect, despite the Jays already having two players of similar age and similar defensive abilities in Adam Lind and Travis Snider.
To see Wallace, only a few months later, again flipped for a player not even on a top 100 prospect list is puzzling, even if you may remember Gose’s name from J.P. Ricciardi’s rumoured asking price for Halladay almost precisely one year ago, that also included Dominic Brown.
Considering the Phillies prospects ranking prior to the Halladay trade, it’s safe to assume that Anthopoulos could have had Gose seven months ago instead of Taylor. Therefore, Anthopoulos has taken a higher valued outfielder from the Halladay deal and turned him into an outfielder of lesser value, all at the prospect level. Never mind the organizational goals of the Blue Jays, to me, this is the inescapable fact. A player many consider to be more valuable was turned into a player that many consider to be less.
It can be argued that Gose is a better fit for the Jays organization than Wallace, and that is a key to this deal. But then why the fuck was Wallace ever acquired in the first place? Trading for Gose now means that at some level a mistake was made. Was it during the initial Halladay trade when they acquired the higher ranking outfielder, or when they swapped him for Wallace or today, when Wallace was moved for an outfielder again? I don’t know. At some point though, value has been lost.
As for the immediate future of the Blue Jays, I think this means that Jose Bautista has a much better chance of sticking around.
Unless the team is committed to tanking for the next three years, giving up on Wallace creates a hole at 1B for the foreseeable future. Enter Adam Lind? Maybe, but without a sure thing at first base, questions surrounding Edwin Encarnacion’s future with the club and assuming that the Jays employ an outfield of Snider, Wells and Lewis for the next few years, Jose Bautista’s capability to play first or third makes him an even more valuable asset to the team than he was hours ago.
Ideally, Lind adapts to first base, Bautista plays third and the Blue Jays pick up a veteran DH type on the cheap. Whether or not Bautista is able to maintain the power he’s displayed this season could determine whether or not that’s a competitive lineup or not. Even if he regresses back to his normal numbers or somewhere in between, Bautista at $6-$7 million next season with the ability to patrol one of two major holes on the ball club is a better option than stop gaps everywhere.
Of course, if the Kelly Johnson rumours have any truth to them whatsoever, we could see Aaron Hill at third, Bautista at first and Lind remain the DH.
In a sense, Bautista’s emergence justifies trading Wallace, but at the same time, it doesn’t justify the loss of value in going from a third of Roy Halladay to Michael Taylor to Brett Wallace, and now to Anthony Gose.