Toronto Blue Jays: Francisco Liriano traded to the Houston Astros

TORONTO, ON - JULY 24: Francisco Liriano
TORONTO, ON - JULY 24: Francisco Liriano /

After a couple of teams were reportedly interested in left-handed pitcher Francisco Liriano, the Toronto Blue Jays and Houston Astros pulled the trigger on a deal for the 33-year old.

The Toronto Blue Jays have officially started to sell off on their rental assets as the none-waiver trade deadline approaches. They officially moved starter Francisco Liriano to the Houston Astros for outfielder Nori Aoki and prospect Teoscar Hernandez.

In 26 starts with the Blue Jays, Liriano had an 8-7 record with a 4.77 ERA, 126 strikeouts and 59 walks. He will likely be a reliever with the Astros and provide some insurance if there is an injury in the starting rotation. Given that he is a left-handed pitcher, the Astros will try to use him as a specialist late in games like the Blue Jays did last year when they acquired him form Pittsburgh. He was originally acquired for Drew Hutchinson last season.

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At 35-years old, Aoki will be making $5.5 million this season is will be eligible for arbitration in the offseason but it is unlikely to see him be a part of the long-term future with the Blue Jays. This will provide the team with another switch bat and likely be in a platoon scenario with Steve Pearce in left field. It could also allow the Blue Jays to move a player in the outfield like Jose Bautista if he is willing to waive his trade clause.

Where the team will benefit the most from this trade is with Hernandez who was the ninth ranked prospect in the Astros system. The 24-year old was playing in Triple-A with the Fresno Grizzlies slashing .279/.369/.485 with 12 home runs in 79 games. He also has 12 steals this season so he brings speed on the base path.

Hernandez has appeared in 40 MLB games hitting .230/.304/.420, with four home runs and 11 RBI. He will likely continue to play in Triple-A with Buffalo and return to the major leagues as a September call-up.

This is the type of move the Blue Jays need to make in order to get themselves back in a competitive position in 2018. If Hernandez can be an everyday player it will allow the team to go with a younger, more athletic lineup which they haven’t been afforded this season.  They will likely look at moving Joe Smith next with the deadline approaching.

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Getting a young controllable player for the foreseeable future is the right start for the Blue Jays and seeing how the prospects have been performing the team might be able to retool rather than doing a full rebuild like many were calling for when the team was struggling.

What did you think about the Liriano trade? Did they get enough? Who do you want to see moved next? Let us know in the comments.