BOSTON - To begin with, this was not a trade that will make the Blue Jays a playoff contender.
What it comes down to is the Jays traded Ho for Hum.
It was more along the lines of a deal that will restore some stability to a crumbling pitching staff and help shore up the 2013 model. If by a miracle it also propels the Jays into the post-season, so be it.
“This was a depth deal,” was how Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos termed the 10-player trade he made Friday with the Houston Astros that brings the Jays three much-needed pitchers.
Heading the Jays way and the top player in the deal is lefty starter J.A. Happ, right-handed reliever Brandon Lyon, a former Blue Jay, and right-hander David Carpenter, who was sent to triple-A Las Vegas.
Happ will open his career in the Jays bullpen in long relief and given that the trio of Jays’ starters for this series are Aaron Laffey, Carlos Villanueva and Henderson Alvarez, there’s a good chance that he will see duty.
Both pitchers will arrive on Saturday.
Going the other way are non factors such as reliever Francisco Cordero and backup outfielder Ben Francisco plus four minor-leaguers — catcher Carlos Perez, right-handers Asher Wojciechowski and Joe Musgrove, and left-hander David Rollins. Wojciechowski and Joe Musgrove were the Jays top picks in the 2010 and 2011 draft, respectively.
The Jays will also give Houston the old ‘player to be named later.’
In the Jays clubhouse, the addition of some arms provided welcome relief — no pun intended.
“We needed some help down there,” closer Casey Janssen said of the bullpen. “I know Lyon is a late-inning guy that we can count on, which we’ve kind of desperately needed a little bit and Happ, I know he has starter experience, I don’t know much about him in the bullpen, but if you can get outs we’ll take you bullpen or starting.”
Added Ricky Romero: “I feel like the guys that we got are definitely going to be a big help to this team.”
As far as providing a playoff push, both players were hopeful.
“I think it shows that they’re trying upstairs,” Janssen said. “I’m a big play-for-the-now (player) as opposed towards the future and I think that this move is showing that we’re going to try for this year.
Romero was equally as optimistic.
“We might be in last place right now but the wild card is still there,” he said. “We’ve got two, two and a half months left of baseball and any time you’re able to make a move like that to help the team out, I’m all for it. Hopefully those guys can contribute and we can start winning games and get back in this.”
Although 10-player deals are usually a big deal, this one really does not move the dial for either team. The Jays needed some dependable arms now while the Astros are in a rebuilding mode.
The Jays headed into their series against the Red Sox having been swept in New York and sport the 11th best record in the American League.
What the injuries to the Jays pitching staff exposed more than anything was that the organization had no able bodies capable of filling in, either in the starting ranks or the bullpen. Happ can help the Jays rotation not only this season but the next two before reaching free agency.
“I think it looks like a greater deal because of the quantity of players,” Anthopoulos said. “But at the end of the day, we gave up some guys in A-ball that we think we have a chance to be all right, and we got some much-needed depth for us that can help us for the current year and going forward.”
COMING AND GOING
J.A. Happ, LH starting pitcher, 29
Astros: 7-9, 4.83 ERA
One of the key pieces going from Phillies to Houston in Roy Oswalt deal … A flyball pitcher prone to giving up homers ... Struck out a career-high 10 in a loss to Dodgers on May 27.
Brandon Lyon, RH reliever, 32
Houston: 0-2, 3.25 ERA
Will take over Cordero’s role as late-inning setup … Posted 26 saves for Arizona in 2008 and 20 his first year with the Astros in ’10.
David Carpenter, RH reliever, 27
Astros: 0-2, 6.07 ERA
Has a career ERA of 4.55 but has struck out 56 in 57 innings ... A Pacific Coast League mid-season all-star last year.
Ben Francisco, Outfielder, 30
Jays: .240, 0 HRs, 2 RBIs
Will continue seeing only spot starts against lefties in Houston ... Of his 50 ABs for Jays, 35 came as the DH.
Francisco Cordero, RH reliever, 37
Jays: 3-5, 2 saves, 5.77 ERA
Will be a RH setup for Brett Myers, who is rumoured to be on the trade block.
Asher Wojciechowski, RH starting pitcher, 24
Class-A Dunedin: 7-3, 3.57
Jays’ first-rounder (41st overall) in 2010 … Baseball America had him rated No. 10 prospect in Jays organization.
Joe Musgrove, RH starting pitcher, 19
Rookie Blufield: 8 IPs, 1.25
Coming off shoulder injury, has made one start and one relief appearance with nine K’s, 0 walks … First-rounder in 2011.
David Rollins, LH starting pitcher, 22
Class-A Lansing: 6-1, 2.78
Started 18 games for Lugnuts, with 75 Ks in 77.2 innings … Has given up two HRs all year.
Carlos Perez, Catcher, 21
Class-A Lansing: .275, 5 HRs
In Jays system since 2008 … Was New York-Penn League mid-season all-star in 2010.