Earlier today, the Toronto Blue Jays traded away Francisco Liriano to the Houston Astros. In trading Liriano, the Blue Jays got creative. Presumably, trading Liriano would’ve netted a low-level prospect or salary relief but the stars aligned for the Blue Jays.
The Blue Jays turned Francisco Liriano into Teoscar Hernandez, a big league ready right fielder with the speed to play centre in a pinch. Hernandez is the kind of prospect that any of the major prospect publications could’ve slotted as their #100 prospect and no one would’ve made a fuss. The tools are there, but so are the concerns about pitch recognition and batting eye. Last year with the Astros, he managed to walk about 10% of the time while striking out about 25% of the time which is a profile that works for someone under 25.
Assuming no new information, the Blue Jays capitalized on the Astros outfield depth at every level to maximize the return on Liriano. What’s more likely, however, is that the Blue Jays will also be eating a chunk of Liriano’s salary in addition to eating the 2M coming over in Aoki.
To do the math, a prospect like Teoscar is worth about 11M for a club. In getting Liriano, the Astros are getting optimistically about 8M worth of value (assuming the Jays pick up the tab) and clear a couple million worth of salary by shipping Aoki to Toronto. There’s probably a bit of a playoff tax on Liriano, so you could realistically make the argument for the Jays not picking up any of the salary to get Teoscar Hernandez. What’s more likely though, is that the Jays are picking up a sizeable piece of Liriano’s salary along with Aoki’s salary.
The Blue Jays surprised me in a wonderful way by acting like a big market time. Rather than simply taking salary relief on Liriano, they turned him into a quality prospect. They took on Aoki’s salary, and I’m sure we’ll learn soon that they also took on some of Liriano’s salary as well.