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.

Comments (117)

  1. So it just occurred to me: given that this season has seen the rise of pitching dominance unseen since the 60s; and given that in that era, defense was rated over offense such that a player like Wallace would never have made the majors, whereas defensive standouts like Gose were highly valued; is it possible that era is rising again? And therefore, is AA simply jumping the boat and trading Wallace while he had any value left for someone who would be difficult to acquire later, should defense indeed be valued higher than offense.

    Yeah, yeah, I know, improbable, but. It’s worth a thought, I think.

  2. Parkes, that’s easy, too. You have a 140 MM payroll, you face heavy criticism for trading away Cliff Lee, and you have a short window with your core players. Injuries have hampered the Phillies and their pitching hasn’t been great. At the time of the Halladay trade, the playoffs seemed assured. Now, they’re on the outside looking in. They have little choice but to mortgage the future if they want to make the playoffs this year.

    Summary:
    Halladay trade: playoffs “assured,” and future preserved.
    Present: playoffs uncertain, knee-jerk solution.

    Again, consider the timing of all of this. Who thought the Phillies would not run away with the NL East at the time Doc was traded?

  3. As an alternate, recent example:

    Consider the Halladay-to-Texas rumours. Smoak was untouchable as he was their 1B of the future. Fast forward, Texas is leading the AL West and Smoak is traded for Haren. Why did their stance change in six months? Circumstance. Texas did not expect to be leading their division in the off season… but to preserve the lead that they do have, they traded for the short-term gain. Desperate times, and all that jazz.

  4. AA was clever in making those comments about how he tried to get philly to include gose in the doc trade….yet he never stated that they would not exchange out taylor or d’arnauld for gose….im sure it was more of an “in addition to” rejected proposal.

    one thing you can say for the phillies, they had some serious minor league depth. depth that allowed them in less than ONE YEAR to acquire roy oswalt, cliff lee, and Doc Halladay. thats pretty damn impressive.

    my question is, knowing how this all played out, would most jays fans here rather see this trade that we ultimately had

    -halladay for gose, drabek, d’arnauld.

    OR

    doc straight up for Domonic Brown?

    id rather have the second. id rather have one mega stud than three average major leaguers…avg major leaguers can be acquired pretty easily.

  5. remember at the time of the trade, lewis wasn’t here and jbau was just a utility guy. that left 2 outfield spots available for lind and snider. now you have a logjam at first with lind, snider and wallace all begging to play 1st. dont underestimate how jbau influenced this trade. AA now sees what an impact a high end defensive player can make. lind, wallace, and snider cant make that impact. gose can. 1st base is an easy position to fill. they can sign pena in the off season if they want a power bat that bad. AA said he didn’t want to get rid of wallace but had no choice. and given the logjam what loss is there really?

    we also dont know what goes on behind the scenes. did wallace have issues? was he on peds?

    gose seems like a brett gardner in the making. gardner didn’t make A+ till he was 22, gose is there at 19. big difference. his stats are meaningless. he’s still growing into his body. the power might come.

  6. Smoak wasnt untouchable…it was that duck fart Holland that was the untouchable one. but the real issue on that deal was Doc was never going to approve a trade to the Rangers….not with them having spring training in Arizona.

  7. From what I know, he rejected a trade at the trade deadline that would sent Holland + Smoak + prospect for Halladay.

  8. Because maybe they wanted to keep him as a center piece for a trade-deadline deal! Drabek was the center piece to get Halladay as was Gose the center piece to get Oswalt. Halladay

  9. That’s what’s lost in this constant battle to find winners and losers. It all comes down to scouting. The Keith Laws of the world are entitled to their snarky opinions, of course, but not unlike a large portion of the online baseball community they seem to forget how much uncertainty and difference of opinion there is in these evaluations.

  10. Smoak was traded to Seattle for Lee. NOT HAREN! but i get what you’re saying.

  11. Agree with most of what is being said here. And I too understand the Jays’ focus on a player like Gose and their persistence in going after him. It seems to be AA’s way of doing things. But I don’t understand at all the rationale of moving their top position prospect. Not for a re-tooling organization. Not when it leaves a gaping hole in the system. And not after all the manoeuvring to get him in the first place only a few months ago. It seems to go against the organizations new philosophy as much as it makes sense for it.

    All that being said, if (and hopefully when) Gose starts hitting, he will quickly become as untouchable – and unattainable if he was somewhere else – as Mike Trout of the Angels. A huge risk by AA, and if it pays off, well, he’ll be a greek god. Here’s hoping it was worth it.

  12. Keith Law has ripped every trade AA has completed thus far.
    Here are some of the things he’s said on the FAN 590 in the last few months.
    - Escobar for Gonzalez was a huge win for Atlanta, Law states that he hinks the Jays could have gotten more than Escobar. Escobar appears as though he’s getting out of shape and has lost a step.
    - Ricky Romero isn’t half the pitcher that Brian Matusz (3-11 5.46 ERA) is and Law had always thought the Jays threw away that first round pick on Romero who is a back of the rotation starter at best.
    - Now he can’t comprehend why Wallace, an unathletic decent hitter with moderate power that can only DH or play first is traded away for a toolsy, speed demon OF.
    Law must have had his feelings hurt by AA when they were with the Jays together because it’s starting to sound like he has a personal vandetta againtst him. The reality is that the Jays have too many Wallace’s in their farm system and on their 25 man roster. This move allows the Jays to move Lind to first and allows them to get a big bat to play DH/1B. Also, Snider is a farly superb defensive OF when compared to Lewis/Lind so moving him to first isn’t going to happen.

  13. Definitely Brown. Looking back, it’s kinda ridiculous that we didn’t get him in a trade where Philly was getting the best pitcher in baseball.

  14. Beyond the insanity of trading for a prospect he could have had in the Doc trade, I fear the vaunted scouting staff of AA have fallen on their collective face. Gose is playing in his third year and has shown no plate discipline or power, two lackings that together doom a player to be a backup at best (assuming he’s a great defender). As for his vaunted speed, he has been abysmal as a base stealer this year, being thrown out almost as often as he’s been successful, and my guess based on that poor track record is that he likely was picked off a few times too. He sounds at best like Carlos Gomez with base running instincts. And he certainly is a step backwards from the player the Jays received initially. Michael Taylor, who had struggled with some injuries this year but previously showed great athleticism and a promising bat.

  15. Granted, TT is a superstar, but the Jays desperately need pitching prospects and Romero was the best pitcher of that class by far (although an argument could be made for Garza). Where would their rotation be right now without Romero? Just be thankful JP didn’t take Wade Townsend (went 2 picks later).

  16. “It’s a good thought, but it still doesn’t explain to me why the Phils were so willing to move him now, if they had him earmarked to replace Victorino only six months ago.”

    Because now the Phillies need Oswalt to make the playoffs. When acquiring Halladay to push them over the top and perhaps win them a World Series they were willing to part with Drabek/D’Arnaud & an OF who was redundant until at least 2012, but not the kid who needed another 3 full seasons in the minors before you could probably evaluate his long-term value. Now that they put all their eggs in win-now mode and are still not a lock for the playoffs it was time to shore up the team, and adding the high-ceiling but seriously raw Gose to headline a deal for a #2/#3 starter was a no brainer.

    This idea that the Blue Jays lost out on value because Wallace is a “consensus top 25 guy” and Gose doesn’t fit in the top 100 is ludicrous. Do any of you know that the Jays shopped Wallace around and were offered anything better than Gose? No. AA took over the team and its two glaring needs were SS & CF. The Hech signing and the Escobar trade solved the first one. The Blue Jays scouts were in love with Gose who represented a high ceiling player at the Jays’ most vulnerable position long-term, so AA saw his chance to solve the second one. At what price? A fatass who can’t field or run and would have to hit like Jim Thome to have an impact on the field. I’ll take the fantastic defensive CF with Crawford type upside and Bourn type downside any day of the week. This trade fits exactly into the philosophy AA has been pimping since he took over and works well with the timeline of the Vernon extension.

  17. Haha this article is so wrong now

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