Not mentioned in the post once.

Bylines, people. They’re right underneath the titles of posts on this site, and they tell you who wrote what you’re reading.

In the case of the one about this morning’s trade, you’ll notice that it was Drew, not I, who wrote it, and therefore to whom your scorn should be directed– which isn’t to say that I disagree with what he was saying, but simply to point out that t’wasn’t me.

Now, if it had been Parkes writing, that may have been a different story. Though… OK, he kept his damning of the Jays on this deal to a minimum in his post at Getting Blanked, before he went uncorking the champagne for Jeff Luhnow and company in Houston on today’s podcast.

True, the Astros had no use for JA Happ because he’ll hit free agency long before they’re ready to be competitive again, and his real value is as a swingman, a depth starter, or maybe at the very back of a rotation on a decent team. And perhaps the price shouldn’t have been so high, as the Jays could have waited until the off-season and picked up a player to fill that kind of role for nothing more than a little bit of cash.

The prospects they gave up were the price of doing business now, though, yet perhaps Parkes is also right that it’s foolish to acquire a player like Happ now in exchange for players with any kind of promise, given the position the 2012 Jays find themselves in.

But it’s not like they have a lot of ready-made fall-back starters in case they have trouble finding pitching this winter or that Happ– unsexy as he is– isn’t better than the Aaron Laffeys of the world who’ll be available for nothing; it’s not like they’ll have Luis Perez to step into the lefty specialist role that may be vacated by the terrific Darren Oliver, should he be dealt or choose to retire (as rumoured); and it’s not like they’re not going to need a guy like Happ at some point over the next season-and-a-half.

While he may not be called upon often enough to accumulate a tonne of value, when he’ll be asked to provide it could prove crucial. I mean, it’s easy to forget that teams value these back-rotation depth roles enough to use first round picks on guys like Chad Jenkins and Deck McGuire to fill them, or that sometimes it’s hard to measure depth in terms of straight-up in-a-vacuum WAR.

David Carpenter isn’t nothing, either, as his age (26) belies the fact that he’s a converted catcher, and has only been pitching for six seasons, with a good fastball and slider combination that he’s yet to quite figure out how to locate.

And it’s not like they gave up anything of terrible significance here, anything that isn’t already falling down the organizational depth chart, or anything that is so close to the Majors that anybody is all that likely to miss them a few years and a few additional draft classes down the line.

This is where Parkes and I would disagree– even if we’re mostly splitting hairs. Marc Hulet of FanGraphs is on his side, writing that in this deal Houston has out-ninja’d the ninja, particularly for the inclusion of Joe Musgrove, the 19-year-old first supplemental round pick from 2011, who, “if his secondary pitches improve to the point where he has a second plus pitch he could develop into a No. 2 starter.”

But Hulet notes that Musgrove’s “velocity was down in early 2012, causing minor concern among the Jays’ coaching staff,” while Alex Anthopoulos told reporters today that the young pitcher is suffering shoulder troubles, which the Astros are aware of.

At ESPN.com (Insider Only), Keith Law piles on, noting his “high-effort, short-arm action and a tendency to fly open after release, all of which probably points to a reliever future.

Law later opines that the Jays dealt away “fringe prospects who might have been squeezed out of 40-man spots by better players in the next few years and were one bad half-season away from losing any trade value they had.”

John Sickels of Minor League Ball disagrees with Law’s assessment, saying that Musgrove “has a low-effort delivery and a body that looks like that of a workhorse starter.”

At Baseball Prospectus, a piece by RJ Anderson and Kevin Goldstein takes Musgrove’s draft status down a peg, calling him “a budget-minded supplemental first-round pick in the 2011 draft.” It also throws a bit of cold water on Hulet’s hopes for the development of secondary stuff, explaining that “he has some feel for a slider, but can also get around on the pitch, causing it to sweep across the plate without much bite, and his changeup is still very much a work in progress. He has the most upside of any player sent to Houston in the deal, but he’s a long, long way from the big leagues.”

BP’s work doesn’t do a whole lot for my case, though, lauding the Jays’ probably-temporary decision to stash Happ in the bullpen, and suggesting that his arbitration eligibility may make him a non-tender candidate this winter– an occurrence that would easily throw this trade into the win column for Houston.

Matt Eddy and Nathan Rode of Baseball America note that Musgrove “returned to the Appy League this season and paired with lefthander Daniel Norris as part of a piggyback system, but he made just two starts and had not pitched since June 24.” Rode quotes BJ’s (note: heh) pitching coach Antonio Caceres in a piece from two weeks ago, saying that Musgrove was “one guy, we were worried about his velocity a little bit, but he got up to 94 the other night.”

So… there are obviously some red flags there, but a lot of talent too; meaning, it’s not a deal that’s completely without risk for the Jays. And Parkes isn’t wrong that it’s a deal that probably wouldn’t have happened without the injuries to so many of the Jays’ pitchers this year, or– as KLaw suggests– the backwards development of Deck McGuire and Chad Jenkins, it’s just… that’s life. And still, both teams, rather smartly, seem to have identified areas of their organizations where depth was lacking, and areas where they had either an abundance of talent or talent that was otherwise of no use to them, and made a deal that ultimately strengthens each team more in the overall.

Ultimately, I think that most importantly, though they’re assuming risk here, given that it’s a small amount of risk on outcomes way down the line– mostly in the area of pitching prospects, who have a massive attrition rate as it is– I’m actually really pleased.

In a small way– because let’s not overstate the importance of the deal– the Jays are acting like they believe this year and next actually matter. Beyond that, Anthopoulos appears to be starting to get his feet wet in terms of turning the mountain of prospect capital he’s built up over the last three years into actual, unsexy, nuts-and-bolts serviceable contributors at the Major League level.

It’s a good thing.

 

Image via Harry How/Getty.

Comments (58)

  1. “and Anthopoulos is starting to get his feet wet in terms of turning the mountain of prospect capital he’s built up into actual, unsexy, nuts-and-bolts contributors at the Major League level.”

    That’s what I like about it. The trade itself is pretty meh, gotta be the most boring 10 player trade in history, but it might be AA finally starting to flip the switch, and deal specs for big leaguers. Expect more of it (and more interesting) in the future.

    • Sometimes, you gotta break the ice baby.

      Nice lateral move by AA to address immediate need without giving up any blue chip assets. Wojo and Musgrove figure to be relievers if they make it to the show (by most prospect gurus). Oh, and no more Coco.

  2. Good post. JA Happ is pitching depth that we need now, and will likely need next season as well. Even if he turns into a swingman/6th starter he could still be of some sort of value. There just aren’t any Carlos Villanueva steals out there (amazing trade), the market for mediocre pitching seems sky high these days.

  3. The article doesn’t mention David Carpenter, but to me he is the most interesting part of the deal. There’s no guarantee of course, but his stat line suggests he is capable of becoming a good setup guy. That will help them with their current situation, but also long term.

  4. Apologies to those who read that clusterfuck before I started to touch it up a bit. Kind of a mess when I first tweeted it.

  5. Don’t worry, Stoets. Nobody ever cares about what Parkes says anyway. He’s just the token troll.

  6. It should be noted that although Carpenter was a 26 year old rookie he only started pitching 4 years ago and had a pretty decent year last year.

  7. I knew it wasn’t you. But seriously. Slow news day yesterday and you are all over it with stuff

  8. Wait. A trade with Houston?

    I thought Upton played for Arizona.

    Does not compute.

  9. I think a lot of people are also forgetting a bit that at the end of the day this is a business. I think we’ve seen a shift in Toronto, where its becoming a baseball town, there’s a buzz around the Jays, rating and attendance both being up. If we toss in the towel completely this early, we risk losing the goodwill that has been built up. And if we can improve the club a little bit, and a win an extra game here and there for the price of a what-if, then I think this is a smart business decision.

    • And I think that, as much as Anthopoulos was given a huge amount of rope to build the core of the organization in his first few years, as much as IDIOTS want to pretend like somehow it’s his idea to go on like this forever, his bosses aren’t going to tolerate perpetual hoarding of future value, the way some purely analytical observers *COUGH* Parkes *COUGH* seem to think he should, as though “value” exists in a vacuum and isn’t acted on by things like roster space or considerations of timing. I know it’s just fucking JA Happ, but it feels like he’s finally starting to follow through on the next phase of the plans he’s been talking about all along.

      • Parkes is ridiculous, thats all that needs to be said. Uncorking champaigne over worjekowsky and musgrove? lol. will either one of them make it to the major leagues in more than a middle relief role? in 5 years you probably will look back at this deal and say the jays clearly won the trade.

  10. haha.. i love how scout’s reports can be so different..today i have read musgrove is a high effort guy, a low effort guy..

    asher had a plus fastball and plus change up coming out of college.. asher had a plus fastball, good slider, and never used a change up coming out of college…

    btw.. the shoulder injury you keep bringing up is apparently in his non-throwing shoulder

    • Is it? Just assumed that was what the velocity dip was attributed to– which still is a red flag, though maybe less of one.

    • First, none throwing shoulder injury does affect his delivery, especially if he tried to compensate for that earlier. In turn, the compensation has the potential to mess up his mechanics or his body further.

      Second, the wildly different account of the stuff can be split into two parts:
      a) Both of them are not very consistent with their feel and confidence of their breaking pitches.
      b) Scouts are only able to see a portion of the games a certain prospect pitches, with raw pitchers with inconsistent pitch selection and quality, this happens a lot. Even though some can be rectified through cross-checking, the process is far from foolproof.

      Third, the differing opinion on delivery could easily be different opinion on what is a “low-effort” or “fluid” delivery. Scouts and prospect gurus hasn’t figured out a one-size-fit-all approach on that part either.

  11. We have all seen that Anthopolous can build a system, now we’re starting to see what his talent is like in terms of building a contender. A small move towards that, certainly, but one none the less.

  12. Some notes on Happ.

    I checked out his last start vs San Diego….his fastball topped out at 91 and sat at 89…i recall him throwing 90-93 when he was with the phillies…so his velocity has dropped in the last few years.

    Looking at his recent starts, it would appear that he can shut down crappy offenses (LA/san diego) and gets lit up by any team with a reasonable offense (Milwaukee).

    This does not bode well for his transition to the AL..especially given the stretch we are in right now.

    All in all, would people be more happy if they traded one of the big three for Liraino?

    • Holy fucking pissing fuck no on Liriano.

      Also: you realize you’re on the internet and there are sites where people can examine the ridiculous things you say, yes?

      Happ’s average velocity this year (90.3) is the highest of his career. It was less than 90 in each of the three seasons he played in Philadelphia, and in his first year there, when he was most successful, it was at 88.8.

      As for getting lit up by good hitting clubs, yes there was a blowup against Milwaukee, but he also shut them out for six innings earlier this season. What you’re saying has no basis in fact, so please stop.

    • Happ this year:

      Velocity up
      Walks down
      GB% up
      SO up

      how about back to back start against KC and Cle, 13 IP, 3 ER, 8 SO, 3 BB, 0 HR.

  13. “Anthopoulos appears to be starting to get his feet wet in terms of turning the mountain of prospect capital he’s built up over the last three years into actual, unsexy, nuts-and-bolts serviceable contributors at the Major League level.”

    I’m not certain I agree with this, but I certainly understand the sentiment.

    The quality of prospects Anthopoulous sent out might indicate that AA has a considerable list of untouchables, or young pieces he’s unwilling to send out, thus limiting what we get back.

    The other argument is that, given what we got back, we shouldn’t have sent any more than this out anyways; and given where we are in the playoff hunt, we shouldn’t have invested any more in *this* season anyways.

    But I agree, the willingness to invest in players who will only be here this season does indicate that Anthopoulous still believes in this season; and that he is willing to make that kind of trade.

    I think I like the cautious approach, especially if the Lansing three are as good as people say they are.

    • How would it possibly indicate that certain players are untouchable? I’m pretty sure what limited what the Jays got back was Houston’s lack of MLB talent to offer.

      • Yeah, and I noted that in my caveat. It’s hard to read something like that from such a minor trade.

        I just wondered if the reason we didn’t trade for, say, a Wandy instead of a Happ, is because that would’ve required one of the Lansing three, and AA honestly believes that the Lansing three are the next coming of Smoltz/Maddux/Glavine.

        Which would be really exciting if it were the case. Still, good to see AA is trying to strike a proper balance between developing prospects for our own use, and trading prospects for today’s ballclub.

        Also good to see AA believes today’s ballclub is worth trading prospects away for.

  14. I like this trade for two reasons you mentioned Stoeten. 1- we are trading fucking prospects finally away for help. Maybe just maybe the Jays shifted in their philosophy. And even more importantly I believe Happ will be a very good starter for us in a couple of years and become a durable #3 guy. Great post sir!!!

  15. I like the fact that AA is starting to trade prospects, I just dont like this particular package they got back. I mean, couldnt AA have at least asked for bud norris? Happ is shit. His numbers are just ok for NL. In the AL, he will likely get lit up.

  16. nestor molina? zach stewart? do you want these guys now? that’s why theyre fringe prospects. keep in mind alex still has 10 days to flip lyon for something else. and also this now allows him to trade oliver for something of value when he couldn’t have done so before.

    • Um… unless he tell you he’s retiring 100% you don’t trade Oliver. Maybe not even then.

      • Trade Oliver? Maybe we should trade Casey Jansen as well!?!?!?! I’d want to be 5 games back and Oliver say he is retiring for sure before I’d trade him, a decision that is not likely to be made before the non waiver deadline, so don’t trade him, he has been great.

    • Some team would have to get desperate and blow them away for an Oliver trade to happen, that deal has been a steal and will continue to be next season.

  17. Best part of the trade? Rajai to the bench and Snider starting in left.
    Second best part of the trade? Cordero is gone.
    I suppose we could have just DFA’d both CoCo and Franky, but we did get a little pitching help back which is nice. We can live without the minor league guys…the cupboard is full in that department.

  18. Is Lawrie playing today??

  19. First time with Lawrie and Snider in the lineup if so, right?? TravS, the original mentor for young Bretzky

  20. AA is starting to clear out inventory. Probably would have happened in the offseason but injuries forced his hand. I think there’s more to come and it might involve one of the big three and likely multiple teams.

  21. Lyon if he’ll sign for far less than he currently makesa nd Carpenter could be what makes this trade on the blue Jays side.

    Happ is making 2.5 million next year he will get a raise he can’t be in your bullpen at the price he’ll make next year.

    Lyon has pitched streaky like any releiver some years he’s good others bad, could be a decent arm for next year with a team option.

    I don’t know who Lyons agent is but look at the contrac the signed last time he was a free agent 3 years 15 million or maybe more…. yikes maybe he won’t be back next year.

  22. John Sickels of Minor League Ball disagrees with Law’s assessment, saying that Musgrove “has a low-effort delivery and a body that looks like that of a workhorse starter.”

    Didn’t we this about Jenkins? Not implying it was Sickels, but other prospect gurus… or was it AA?

  23. Um, Laffey is back to the Laffey of two starts ago. He had control issues vs the Indians, but he is carving up these sox.

    ROLLL LaFFEY.

  24. Can we trade Laffey to Houston for and get Musgrove back?

  25. At first I was warm to this deal, but as I read everyone ripping it to pieces, I’m not so sure. If Happ is really fringier than fringy, why not just stick with Jamie Moyer and keep the boatloads of C prospects for later deals? Remember, this is a team that apparently had no interest in John Lannan in spring training, and he seemed to be available for spare change. (Not to say Happ isn’t better than thtat, just that there are garbage arms kicking around.) It’s a weird hedge trade that doesn’t seem to pay off either way.

  26. Andrew, still trying to wrap my head around this trade. On one hand you can say we have traded minor leaguers we have stock piled for years to get a serviceable MLB talent in happ and what amounts to a 6-7th inning guy in Lyon. Fair enough! What I can’t for the life of me figure out is why we would make such a move? We are going nowhere! I am a die hard jays fan who cannot understand why aa would give away his two supplemental first rounders over the past two years to get ja fucking happ??? Yes he will be serviceable and probably used in the starting rotation this season. With that being said, how come we cannot pick up a player for cheaper to fill the slot as we look towards next season. A guy like chad qualls is a perfect example (althoug not a starter) let go, signed a minor league deal, more than seviceable, I don’t understand the jays being one the leagues richest franchises, and every year they are scared away by relievers making 5 million. We had our chance in the offseason to sign copeaous amounts of relievers and the best we could do is coco and the best reliever we have in d.o. I’m not tired of rebuilding I just hope that instead of passing on superstar potential like prince, pap (who I wouldn’t have sign for those dollars) and even Heath bell that aa take a long look in the mirror and start signing what he would call depth moves to shore up the team before we are forced to give away two great prospects in aj, and musgrove for nothing because we are riddled with injuries. Just an agitated jays fan looking for answers to questions he will never get

    • Heath Bell? Are you shitting me? You want part in that roller coaster?

      Seriously, take a breath. Woj and Musgrove were becoming fringy prospects. Prospect value is fluid, regardless of draft position. Just because they were drafted high doesn’t mean they retain high value. Especially after repeating a class you’re too old for like Woj did.

      They aren’t “great” prospects, either never were or have fallen from grace depending on who you ask. They are “B” prospects. Guys who organizations with high end talent at the same level can deem expendable.

      Happ and Lyon, because they have shown the ability to play well enough to hang at the major level, were priced at a handful of “B” prospects and the Jays bit on the price.

    • Bard, while you may view the season as over and not give a fuck, the Jays brass does have a responsibility to the coaches and players. This may sound like a cliche to you, but I want you to really think about this. The current players and coaches are coming to work every day to win now. Players and coaches only marginally (if at all) care about what will happen 3 or 4 years down the road. Why do you think Farrell, Bautista, and Romero all publicly stated they need pitching help “now”? I didn’t like that they did that publicly, but it’s apparent that the guys coming to work now, only 3.5 games back, believe in this season.
      To put it in real world terms for you. Picture the company you work for is having a bad year, and the upper management demonstrates to you that this year is fucked and a complete right off, and they just don’t give a shit about this years bottom line because next year, or in a few years everything will be better because there will be new employees working who are better then their current staff, or more accurately, YOU!

  27. I have time to think about this trade, and it sort of reminds me of the trade where they got Dan Plesac, Orlando Merced and Carlos Garcia from the Pirates in exchange for Brandon Cromer, Jose Pett, Jose Silva, Abraham Nunez, Mike Halperin and Craig Wilson. Wilson was the only one who really panned out, hitting 99 home runs in his career, his best year being 2004 when he hit 29 hr’s with 82 rbi’s and a bating average of .264. Parting Wojo and the catcher are kinda tough to live with, but this club needs arms to finish the season and there was no way guys who are contollable for 6 years are worth Dempster or Garza. I know a lot of you want to piss on AA’s grave, but I like this deal and I think AA did the right thing. There’s no way he could have foreseen this devastating rash on injuries.

  28. Resign Laffey

  29. I think we traded A couple guys who’s most probable trajectory is to become guys like Happ and Lyon. If the best possible case happens for Houston then yes they will have won the trade.. But we need help at the big league level more than far away prospects with limited upside. Parkes is willing to ignore the MLB roster to hoard prospects, but AA can’t do that in reality.

  30. Well even if the prospects that Toronto traded to turn into the talent that some people think they might, its not like the Jays don’t have more where they came from. The other thing like you say, the Jays seriously needed some new blood in the pitching area, having a guy like Hap, and Lyon come in and help this year can only be good for everyone else that we have in our pen now, and taking a flyer on Carpenter cant hurt at all. I like the move, it says. “Lets apply the bubble gum to the hole in the boat until we get the motor going”

    • There is one of the problems right there.
      The dubble bubble is ok for the leak, but the motor is still down.
      Plus a tear in the backup sail.

      Oh well, one item at a time.

      The trade is OK, and keeps the fans involved, rather than just twisting in comment purgatory.

  31. Lind is back

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