I love hearing about trades that didn’t happen. Normally, us baseball outsiders don’t learn of such things until the people involved in rejecting a proposed transaction have moved on from the jobs that allowed them to make such a decision.

This makes sense. Being the general manager of a Major League Baseball club is a difficult job. No one wants to be embarrassed by refusing to pull the trigger on a big deal. And no one wants to burn any bridges by trying to publicly embarrass a colleague.

Last night, at the State of the Franchise meeting between fans and Toronto Blue Jays management, GM Alex Anthopoulos,without naming names, referred to a trade that didn’t happen because the other team wanted a Major League ready player off Toronto’s roster that he was unwilling to give up.

As Jeff Blair of the Globe And Mail tells us:

Several sources say that player was third baseman Brett Lawrie; the Blue Jays balked and instead the Mariners did some good business with the New York Yankees, landing catcher Jesus Montero.

While any deal involving a Michael Pineda and Brett Lawrie swap would likely be fairer than Toronto fans would at first admit, there’s little question in my mind that the Blue Jays made the right decision in hanging on to Lawrie. What’s perhaps most remarkable is that over one season, Lawrie’s trade value was raised from being worth a number two or three starter with two years of team control (Shaun Marcum) to a potential top of the rotation stud with five more years of team control.

That’s an investment working out.

Comments (25)

  1. It is clear Seattle was looking for a young soild bat that can play now. If we could have done a same or better offer than NY, then it makes sense that it would’ve been Lawrie.

  2. Wow – i really wanted Pineda to be a Blue Jay – but not at that cost…sometimes the best deals are the ones not made.

  3. Thanks the Lord that trade didn’t happen, all praise our lord and savior AA. Maple boners aside, Lawrie >>>>>>>>>>>> Pineda>>>>>>> Montero (future DH).

  4. Thank the Lord that trade didn’t happen, all praise our lord and savior AA. Maple boners aside, Lawrie >>>>>>>>>>>> Pineda>>>>>>> Montero (future DH).

  5. investments only work out if you capitalize. theoretical value does not impact WAR, as you know.

  6. Wow, as good as Lawrie is that is a tough offer to turn down. I definitely thought the return for Pineda would be someone a lot closer to Lawrie’s level than Montero who doesn’t have a position.

    I wonder if AA countered with D’Arnaud? I’d think at least some people would value D’Arnaud as a better return than Montero. I think I would have done that deal.

  7. Since the Rolen trade, third base has been a question mark. There are no other 3B prospects in the Jays system. The system is rich with pitching. The hole made by Lawrie’s departure would be much harder to fill than the one that still exists without Pineda in the rotation. Also, Pineda is essentially Brandon Morrow 2.0. He has 2 pitches, swing and miss stuff, and is a flyball pitcher. It seems to have taken time for Morrow to make the adjustment to a starter’s strategy, I think facing the BoSox and Rays a whole bunch will make Pineda look like less of an ace than he did in Seattle.

  8. It’s not worth filling a hole by creating another one.

  9. Anyone that says Pineda is Morrow2.0 does not know a thing about baseball

  10. I’m glad the trade didn’t go donw. As much as a front line consisting of Romero-Pineda-Morrow would be we would essentially getting something we have tons of in the minors. Lots of pitchers with plenty of team control who have tons of upside. Difference is we only have to wait a year or two to really starting seeing the tree producing fruit. And really who wants to see EE back at third full time? Not me.

  11. Brandon Morrow – 179 IP, 10.19K/9, 3.46BB/9, 1.05HR/9, .299 BABIP, GB%36%, 3.53 xFIP, 3.4 WAR

    Michael Pineda – 171 IP, 9.11K/9, 2.89BB/9, 0.95HR/9, .258BABIP, GB%36%, 3.53xFIP, 3.4WAR

    Pineda is 23 and Morrow is 28 so obviously that is the BIG difference – but their numbers are REMARKABLY similar when you consider that Pineda was pitching in the AL West while Morrow pitched in the East. I’d still give the edge to Pineda – based on his age, but it isn’t a huge stretch to suggest that he’s very similar to Morrow. Who knows what will happen to Pineda pitching in the East. I would imagine he’ll struggle in the same ways as Morrow if he continues to throw limited groundballs. He’s a great pitcher, but considering the Jays lack of position prospects and the wealth of pitching prospects – that trade is a no-brainer of a no from my perspective. Intriguing though it may be.

    • I agree. I’d rather have Pineda than Morrow due to age and years of control, but I would not be the least bit surprised if Morrow is the better pitcher over the next three to four years when you factor in strength of schedule and home ballpark.

  12. That trade might not be the end of the world but I can definitely understand why it didn’t happen. Not saying that Lawrie is a “sure thing” yet, but I feel like it’s really difficult to gauge the trajectory of pitchers’ careers; maybe more so than hitters?

  13. I should also add that Lawrie provided 2.7 WAR in 43 GAMES! Of course other teams will be interested in him. I imagine every trade that AA proposes to another team starts with the caveat: “Not Lawrie.. but who else would you like”.

  14. I think Pineda for Lawrie would be totally fair, actually, in terms of talent. Both of these guys have pretty small bodies of work at the Major League level so either one (or both) could still flame out spectacularly.

    I’m going to be the contrarian here and predict that in three years we’ll be wishing AA had made the deal.

    • Really in three years when we have Hutchinson, Mcguire, Jenkins, Nicolino, Syndergaard and many other elitle pitching prospects banging down the door? You will think AA had wished to pull the trigger? Who do you get to play third base for the next few years then? EE isn’t good enough to be our full time 1B. The only starting pitchers the Jays should aquire over the next few years are ones that are only here for a year or so.

      • It may be that in three years the deal will look good. We can’t possibly KNOW. Nobody here has a crystal ball and neither do any of the professional prognosticators (Keith Law, Kevin Goldstein, John Sickels, et al) or the front offices making these moves. With that said, as of this moment I can totally understand why the Blue Jays’ brass feels that Lawrie will be the more valuable player to “the next great Blue Jays’ team”. This is ultimately all that should be considered with each move: “does the front office believe that this trade makes the next contending team better”.

        To be honest this habit that some people have of looking back on a past transaction and lauding or ridiculing it really annoys me. It is ridiculous to criticize any move afterwards if you didn’t think that it was bad at the time it was made. It’s far more useful to look at what factors people didn’t consider at the time time of the signing, trade, or draft selection that caused the result to be different from the expected outcome at the time. By doing this we can attempt to learn something and perhaps avoid similar mistakes in the future. If, on reflection, the reasons for the unpredictable result are things that nobody could have reasonably foreseen at the time of the deal then nobody in a front office really deserves any credit or blame.

        Given that Lawrie > Pineda is a totally reasonable perspective to hold right now nobody should whine if Pineda winds up being better in the end. The same should go for Brewers fans regarding the Marcum for Lawrie trade. If Lawrie winds up being a superstar then they have to remember that at the time the deal looked like a mutually beneficial trade that has already paid some dividends for the Brewers. If a move is obviously ill advised at the time it is made (like the Angels trading for Vernon Wells) then it’s fair to point snarky criticisms in the direction of the front office making the move, but otherwise armchair GMs need to learn to keep their mouths shut.

  15. Mcguire and Jenkins are nothing to write home about and neither hutchinson or Nicolino will ever have the kind of stuff Pineda has, that being said no way he’s worth brett lawrie.

  16. Eh, I never in a million years would have made this trade. Players like Lawrie come along one in a thousand; the kid has fire in his belly, and you just don’t see that in many ball players. Give Pineda a few seasons in the AL east and then evaluate what might have been, but I’m gonna crack out the crystal ball and say he struggles mightily this year.

  17. That’s a good trade not to make. I’m all for getting better starting Pitching (It’s the clubs most glaring weakness IMO) but trading Lawrie for it would have just plugged one hole while opening another.

  18. I’m a huge fan of both Lawrie and Arencibia, but I wonder if JP’s name wasn’t floated out there with the presence of d’Arnaud in AAA, but I’m glad to see both are still on the roster going into this season. I don’t know what d’Arnaud will ultimately become, but I think JP is the real deal and I would have hated to see him go, even for Pineda. The Jays have lots of arms coming, don’t trade core players for arms.

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