Commentary

Successful trade deadline sellers

The Blue Jays and Rockies made trades that could pay big dividends in the near future

Updated: August 1, 2011, 5:58 PM ET
By Jonah Keri | FanGraphs
Carlos BeltranAndy Lyons/Getty ImagesThe Giants are better with Carlos Beltran, but they might have dealt a future star to get him.

Doyle Alexander for John Smoltz. Larry Andersen for Jeff Bagwell. Bartolo Colon for Grady Sizemore, Brandon Phillips and Cliff Lee. For all the attention focused on the buyers at the trade deadline, sellers often see big results … even if it takes a few years for those results to materialize.

Here are a few of the sellers who fared best this year:


Toronto Blue Jays

Traded Jason Frasor and Zach Stewart to Chicago White Sox for Edwin Jackson and Mark Teahen

Traded Edwin Jackson, Octavio Dotel, Corey Patterson, Marc Rzepczynski and three players to be named later, or cash to St. Louis Cardinals for Colby Rasmus, Trever Miller, Brian Tallet and P.J. Walters

Stewart is the lone prospect here, and he projects as either a back-of-the-rotation starter or a bullpen guy. After that, you're giving up a utility man, two relief pitchers and another decent, but low-upside, swingman. Some of these pieces might have value for a contending team, particularly Frasor to the White Sox (3.62 FIP) and Jackson to the Cardinals (3.21 FIP). None matters to the Jays … except for Rasmus.

Not yet 25 years old, Rasmus already has a 4-win season under his belt, along with some explosive minor league numbers (including 29 homers in 128 games at Double-A four years ago). He plays a premium position and is three-plus years away from free agency. It's no secret that he and Tony La Russa didn't see eye-to-eye, and Rasmus might be the rare case where the old change-of-scenery argument actually holds water. There's a nonzero chance that Rasmus (and especially his hands-on father) truly is a pain in the butt and that his natural talent will never quite yield the results people hope.

There's also a pretty decent chance Rasmus will become a star. That's a risk a team playing in the same division as the Yankees and Red Sox has to take. It's a risk any team should take. And it's a huge coup for a Jays team that's emerging as one of baseball's true sleeping giants with a GM (Alex Anthopoulos) who is distinguishing himself as one of the best dealmakers in the game.


To read about the other successful sellers at the trade deadline, and learn more about the prospects those teams are counting on to succeed in the big leagues, you must be an ESPN Insider.

Jonah Keri (@jonahkeri) is a staff writer for Grantland. His book, The Extra 2%: How Wall Street Strategies Took a Major League Baseball Team From Worst to First, is a national best seller. His new book Up, Up, and Away, on the history of the Montreal Expos, is now available for preorder.