Blue Jays trade has puzzling feel
By MELISSA COUTO, QMI Agency
|Right-hander Esmil Rogers heads to the Blue Jays for Mike Aviles and Yan Gomes. (Getty Images)
TORONTO - Toronto acquired a pitcher on Saturday, but not the kind that fans were expecting.
Despite emphatically stating at the end of the regular season that the Jays would be aggressive in their pursuit of starters to patch up the gaping holes in their rotation, GM Alex Anthopoulos picked up Esmil Rogers, a right-handed reliever from the Cleveland Indians, in exchange for catcher/corner infielder Yan Gomes, and infielder Mike Aviles.
Rogers, a native of the Dominican Republic, made his MLB debut for the Colorado Rockies in 2009, pitching in Denver for three years before being dealt to the Indians midway through the 2012 season.
In 44 games with Cleveland, the 27-year-old went 3-1 with a 3.06 ERA, giving up five home runs and 12 walks. He struck out 54 batters through 51 innings of work.
Gomes, who’ll be heading off to Panama in two weeks to represent Brazil in the World Baseball Classic qualifier, did not necessarily dazzle anyone during his stints with Toronto’s big-league club this season.
In 98 at-bats with the Jays, the 25-year-old hit .204 with four home runs and 13 RBIs.
And with Travis D’Arnaud, arguably the best catching prospect in baseball, waiting in the wings for his big-league debut as he recovers from a knee injury that cut his season short last year, the Jays had little need for another catcher, even one as versatile as Gomes.
But losing Mike Aviles is a bit puzzling.
As the Jays’ consolation prize for giving up their manager John Farrell to the Boston Red Sox, Aviles looked as though he’d be replacing free agent Kelly Johnson at second base next year.
With the 31-year-old no longer in the picture, Anthopoulos now has one more hole to fill.
But if anyone is happy about the trade, it’s Aviles, who took to Twitter Saturday afternoon to express his delight that he’ll be reunited with former Red Sox manager Terry Francona.
“Got the news I’m off to Cleveland!!!” he exclaimed. “Excited for the new adventure!!”
While Aviles rejoices however, Jays fans aren’t sure what to do.
Though Rogers’ arm is solid, it’s one more bullpen arm on a team that desperately needs starting pitchers.