The 2021 trade deadline was the most exciting in MLB history. There were loads of superstars dealt, and the formation of the league is forever changed. If there was one phrase to describe the deadline, it’s that “the rich get richer.” Most of the top teams added top tier players and will begin their playoff push. Unfortunately, the Blue Jays trade deadline was not as glamorous. They did pick up one of the better starters on the market, yet the price to pay was too expensive. The Jose Berrios trade was designed to help an elite team get over the hump, and the Blue Jays made the mistake of thinking they are elite. They have talent and are one of the brightest futures in baseball but aren’t quite there yet. Therefore, the losers of the trade are the Toronto Blue Jays.
Troubles in Toronto
Jose Berrios has always been a good pitcher. In fact, since his rookie year he has not ever had a season with an ERA above 4. However, I wouldn’t consider him at the elite tier that many other guys are at. However, someone I would consider elite is new Dodgers pitcher Max Scherzer. At the end of the deadline, the Dodgers picked up two elite players in Scherzer and shortstop Trea Turner. In return the Nationals received top prospects Keibert Ruiz, Josiah Gray, Gerardo Carillo, and Donovan Casey. Ruiz and Gray are both top 100 prospects, so the Nationals got a good haul. There is an argument that the Twins got an even better haul, and all they had to give up was Jose Berrios.
The crazy part is the Blue Jays also dealt two top 100 prospects for Jose Berrios, including Austin Martin, who is ranked 15. The Blue Jays could have made that offer for Max Scherzer and the Nationals would have accepted it easily. However, Toronto picked up Jose Berrios for that phenomenal prospect package. Berrios will be an important addition to the staff however, as Toronto’s bullpen has not been dominant in 2021. The trade doesn’t make the most sense though, as at the time of it the Blue Jays sat 4.5 games out of a wildcard spot and fourth in the division. They should have continued to develop their talented prospects, not traded them for a good-not-elite pitcher when they are not even directly in the playoff hunt. The Blue Jays lost the Jose Berrios trade by a lot, unless they can turn him into a superstar.
Many believed a Jose Berrios trade was going to happen, but nobody knew who was going to be the buyers. I don’t even think the Twins knew that they could land two top 75 prospects for their pitcher. This trade was good for Minnesota for a multitude of reasons. They bolstered their mediocre farm system, which Bleacher Report had ranked 17th post-draft. They also made the trade at the right time, because Berrios would have lost value at the end of the season. Toronto wanted to make a push so they pulled the trigger on the Jose Berrios trade when the price was high. Another win from the trade was the fact that both prospects acquired are in Double-A ball. This means that the prospects aren’t fully unknown. Although they haven’t scratched the surface of their potential, the Twins have a pretty good idea of what they are getting.
In fact, let’s talk exactly about what the Twins are getting. Austin Martin is a MIF/OF that is an elite hitter wherever he goes. He has a knack for hitting the ball hard and that will allow him to succeed anywhere. However, despite being versatile and able to play many positions, Martin doesn’t excel at any of them, although he projects to be a decent second baseman or centerfielder. He is athletic with surprising pop that will get him on the field one way or another.
Simeon Woods Richardson is a big, (6’3 210 lbs) athletic right hander who throws the ball hard with good control. His fastball can get up to the mid 90’s with room to grow, and he throws three other pitches well. His slider has improved lots, but his curveball and changeup are two pitches that can grow to elite status at the next level. Although Martin’s glaring weakness is his lack of easy power, Woods Richardson doesn’t really have one. His command and control are very good, as his ability to avoid walks is uncanny. I think the pitcher actually has the ability to be a bit better than Berrios at his absolute ceiling. However, he is still a prospect with a lot to prove.
In five years, this article may be a cold take. That is because at the time being, Jose Berrios has produced in 137 more MLB games than both prospects combined. He is an established, talented starter who continues to get better with experience. I think the Jose Berrios trade is one sided just because of the amount of potential Toronto gave up. However, this trade can easily even out or even flip in the Blue Jays’ favor if the prospects flounder. In my opinion, the Blue Jays gave up too much and I don’t see a championship in their immediate future. However, both teams made moves that match their needs, so as a Toronto fan, don’t worry too much!
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