Ross Atkins believes new acquisition Derek Fisher will be a complementary piece for the rebuilding Blue Jays, but time will tell whether the outfielder will be worth the high price Toronto paid for his services.
The Blue Jays capped a busy four days leading up to Wednesday’s trade deadline by trading right-handed starter Aaron Sanchez, right-handed reliever Joe Biagini and minor-league outfielder Cal Stevenson to the Houston Astros for Fisher, a 26-year-old who has has spent most of his professional career in the minor leagues.
While the 2014 37th-overall pick has shown few flashes of his potential during his stints in the majors — he has a .201 batting average over 312 career plate appearances with the Astros — Atkins said Fisher is someone the Jays have been targeting for some time.
"He couldn’t fit better with our young core right now," the Blue Jays general manager said on a conference call. "Everything about his track record suggests he is a great fit for us."
Sanchez and Biagini were the fifth and sixth Blue Jays to be traded for prospects or younger players by the rebuilding Blue Jays (43-67), who cleared the decks as they set out to shape a new team image around emerging stars Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette and Cavan Biggio.
Toronto also dealt infielder Eric Sogard, right-handed starter Marcus Stroman and right-handed relievers David Phelps and Daniel Hudson over the past four days.
None of those trades landed Toronto a blue-chip prospect for its rebuild, but Atkins said he expects a "game-changing talent" to come out of the Jays’ minor-league depth.
Sanchez, a homegrown Blue Jay, has been with the team since 2014 and was once considered one of the team’s building blocks for the future.
Injuries have taken their toll on Sanchez in recent years and he has struggled for much of this season, going 3-14 with a 6.07 earned-run average while losing 10 in a row at one point.
Still, Sanchez is just 27 and had improved in his past two outings, both no-decisions, giving up five earned runs in a combined 10 2/3 innings.
And Sanchez was an emotional tether to Toronto’s better days. He was a key part of Jays playoff teams in 2015 and ’16, when he went 15-2 with an American League-leading 3.00 ERA.
"There’s never a deal you’re staring at and saying this is an absolute home run," Atkins said.
The 29-year-old Biagini, picked up by Toronto in the 2015 Rule 5 draft, is 3-1 with a 3.78 ERA this season.
Biagini was the second reliever traded by the Jays on Wednesday. Earlier, Toronto sent Hudson to the Washington Nationals for right-hander Kyle Johnston.
The Astros, who entered Wednesday with the best record in the American League, were busy at the deadline, also acquiring Arizona Diamondbacks ace Zack Greinke.
The 32-year-old Hudson has a record of 6-3 with a 3.00 ERA and two saves in 45 games for the Blue Jays this season. Toronto signed Hudson as a free agent on March 25.
Johnston, 23, has a 9-9 record with a 4.03 ERA in 20 starts for advanced-A Potomac of the Carolina League this season, striking out 100 batters in 105 innings pitched.
Earlier, the Blue Jays placed left-hander Ryan Borucki on the 10-day injured list with left elbow inflammation, retroactive to Sunday.
Left-hander Buddy Boshers was selected to the major league roster to take Borucki’s place.
It’s another setback for Borucki, who missed the first half of his sophomore year after suffering a left elbow injury in spring training.
Borucki, 25, returned to the Blue Jays earlier this month and made two starts, going 0-1 with a 10.80 ERA. He pitched just 6 2/3 innings during those two outings.
Borucki had a promising rookie campaign, going 4-6 with a 3.87 ERA while striking out 67 and walking 33 in 17 starts.
The loss of Borucki thins out an already short-handed Blue Jays starting staff after the trade of Stroman to the New York Mets on Sunday.
Also Wednesday, the Blue Jays claimed right-hander Brock Stewart from the Los Angeles Dodgers and optioned him to triple-A Buffalo.