Flashback Friday: The Blue Jays' First Ever Trade in Franchise History

Friday, July 31, 2015 | by 



The Toronto Blue Jays have made plenty of trades over the course of their 37-year franchise history. Just this week alone, the Jays made two of the biggest trades in recent memory. But there was one trade made in the fall of 1976 which set everything in motion

For this week's Flashback Friday, we take a look at the very first trade ever made by the Toronto Blue Jays franchise.

On October 21st 1976, the Toronto Blue Jays swung their very first trade for veteran catcher, Phil Roof. The Blue Jays traded a player to be named later (eventually Larry Anderson) to the Chicago White Sox in exchange for Roof.

In actuality, Phil Roof  became the first ever player for the Toronto Blue Jays as they had yet to begin filling out their roster through the expansion draft in November of 1976.

I wonder how the 12-year veteran in Roof felt about being shipped off to Toronto; an upstart expansion team which at the time was devoid of any veteran players.

Phil Roof only started two games for the Blue Jays in 1977, as the Blue Jays also acquired Alan Ashby from the Cleveland Indians for one of their draft picks, Al Fitzmorris.

Ashby ultimately caught the bulk of the games for the Jays that year, starting 120 games behind the plate. Ernie Whitt and Rick Cerone split the backup catching duties, while Phil Roof spent only a short stint with the club.

Roof's last start with the Blue Jays was May 30th 1977, and he retired shortly thereafter.

Phil Roof's time with the Toronto Blue Jays may not have been all that glamorous, but he still has the distinction of being the first player the club ever traded for, and thus the first official player for the Blue Jays.

After Landing David Price, The Time is Now for the Blue Jays

Thursday, July 30, 2015 | by 



There is absolutely no question now - the Toronto Blue Jays are going for it.

The Jays are all-in for 2015. They are pulling out all the stops. It's playoffs or bust. Whichever colloquialism you want to use to describe what the Blue Jays have just pulled off, it's very applicable in this situation.

At first, it almost didn't seem like it was actually happening. The initial news of the Blue Jays acquiring David Price was one of shock and surprise. This must be what it's like to have an out-of-body experience.

But yes, David Price is coming to Toronto.

First and foremost as a Blue Jays fan, I can't begin to describe how happy this makes me. Over the past twenty years, this organization hasn't had many days which have produced this much sheer joy; this is one of them.

I gave an unsolicited hug to the very first person I ran into immediately after official news of the trade (hi, Chris!) Similar reactions of pure unadulterated joy to the David Price trade were also likely taking place across the country.

But after coming back down to earth and thinking objectively for a moment, it's still so utterly shocking that the Blue Jays of all teams would make a move like this - getting the very best pitcher on the market in David Price.

This is something usually reserved for organizations like the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers. The Blue Jays haven't been buyers at the trade deadline like this since 1992 and 1993.

And even then, I want to say the trades to bring in Troy Tulowitzki and David Price might even trump some of the trades the Jays made to fortify the roster at the 1992 and 1993 trade deadline.

And when was the last time the Blue Jays went out and got a rental at the trade deadline? Normally, it's all about acquiring players with little service time or who are under contract for many years to come.

David Price could potentially walk away from the Blue Jays as early as late October. But that's the furthest thing from anybody's mind right now as the focus is clearly on winning right now and playing well into October.

As far as David Price goes, what's not to like? He's one of the premier pitchers in all of baseball; he's a true ace, and the undisputed number one in a Toronto Blue Jays rotation that hasn't had an ace in a very long time.

Not to mention, Price is somebody who's made a career of owning the Blue Jays. Price has a 16-2 record with a 2.41 ERA in 21 career starts against the Blue Jays. This is a case for the Jays where "if you can't beat him, trade for him".

The Troy Tulowitzki deal in of itself was one that got many excited about the Blue Jays' renewed chances, but this David Price trade just absolutely sends things through the roof.

Via FanGraphs, the Blue Jays increased their playoff odds from 33.6% to 45% after the acquisition of David Price. They also single-handedly doubled their odds of winning the World Series from 2.4% to 4.5%.

The most impressive part about this trade is what it signifies; that the Blue Jays' front office is serious about winning, and they've done virtually everything in their power this year to make that happen.

It's now up to the players to deliver.

For all the criticism Alex Anthopoulos and the Toronto Blue Jays organization have undergone in recent years, there's almost no way they can be faulted for the rest of the season. If the Blue Jays don't make the playoffs now, it's not on them ... it's on the players.

This David Price trade (and to some degree, the Troy Tulowitzki trade) took a lot of guts to make. Not only because the Blue Jays parted with several highly-touted prospects, but it's because they still have some ground to make up in the standings.

It's never easy parting with promising young prospects like Daniel Norris and Jeff Hoffman. The acquisition cost was undoubtedly steep for the services of David Price. Daniel Norris or Matt Boyd could develop into legitimate Major League starters.

But if the Blue Jays felt their window of contention was now and Norris and Boyd didn't factor into those plans, then it was best to maximize their value as high-level prospects.

However steep the cost may have been for Tulowtizki and Price, this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to make two significant trades and acquire two elite players. Two players which have the potential to make a huge impact on the Blue Jays' chances this year.

Just to recap, the Toronto Blue Jays now have All-Stars at five positions on the diamond (catcher, third base, shortstop, right field, first base) and two former Cy Young Award winners in the starting rotation. The team should be okay from here on out.

Do the Blue Jays Have a Legit Shot at Landing David Price?



Update: Yes they do. They did!

David Price may be a rental pitcher; but if there was ever a rental to go after, it would be him.

If the Blue Jays are going to clean the cupboard of some of their best prospects, it may as well be for a Cy Young Award winner and one of the premier starting pitchers in all of baseball, David Price.

What initially only seemed like a pipe dream mere days ago is suddenly becoming more and more plausible. Reports of the Blue Jays' interest and strong push for David Price are beginning to gain traction.

A huge bidding war could erupt at any given moment for his services, which indicates the heavy hitters like the Yankees and Dodgers would be in pursuit. But the Blue Jays have broken through as a favourite to land the former Cy Young winner.


What's the Cost of Price?


To me, I can't foresee a scenario where the Blue Jays could pry David Price away from the Tigers without giving up one of Daniel Norris or Marcus Stroman. This may be an instance where Detroit is looking for quality prospects to replace Price rather than quantity of prospects.

If the Cincinnati Reds wanted Marcus Stroman in exchange for Johnny Cueto, then the haul for David Price would invariably be that much bigger.

Given that Price would only be a rental for the Blue Jays, but the cost to lure him away from the Detroit Tigers would be incredibly steep, as he's without question the best pitcher on the market.

If the Blue Jays truly have some pieces that the Tigers really like, then it shouldn't be all that difficult to get a trade done for David Price. The question is whether Alex Anthopoulos wants to part with those players or not.

Much like with the Josh Donaldson and Troy Tulowitzki trades, there was one name on the Blue Jays' side which was the tipping point on the respective deals. With Donaldson, it was Brett Lawrie's name; and with Tulowitzki, it was Jeff Hoffman.

Once Anthopoulos turned around and included those key players in the deal, it sounds like those respective trades got the green-light. I'm curious as to who that player would be in any potential talks for David Price.


He's a Rental, but He's the Best Rental


Even though Price would only be a rental and make something like 10 or 11 more starts this season, those handful of starts could be the difference between the Blue Jays making the playoffs and not making the playoffs.

For many years, the Blue Jays have lacked a true "ace" and David Price would immediately fill that need. Acquiring Price would launch the Blue Jays into an incredible position to make a run at the playoffs; something they haven't done in an incredibly long time.

In this particular scenario, I don't think many would fault Alex Anthopoulos for giving up some coveted prospects to land the best pitcher on the market. Even if this playoff push falls flat, it's better to have big aspirations and do something rather than nothing at all.


Price Can Deliver in the AL East


David Price certainly has the pedigree to pitch within the American League East, so there's no question he could stand up to the likes of pitching against the Yankees, Orioles and his former friends, the Tampa Bay Rays.

I like Stoeten's idea of tabling an offer surrounding Drew Hutchison. While the Jays would certainly make that exchange in a heartbeat, I don't know if Hutchison is enough on their end to get a deal done. Also, if the Tigers have no interest in Hutchison, then it's a moot point altogether.

But if the Detroit Tigers fancy someone like Daniel Norris, as difficult as that trade would be to make, the Blue Jays should seriously consider doing it.


Trade for Price and Sign Later?


If the Blue Jays were to acquire David Price, there's the remote possibility that they could do what they did with R.A. Dickey and trade for him and immediately ink him to a contract extension.

But I'm afraid a "trade and sign" isn't very appealing to someone like David Price who could very easily break the bank for his next free agent contact.

It would also be presumptuous to assume the Jays may have a shot at signing David Price to a contract extension at the end of the season. I just think the bright lights of free agency will just be way too appealing for David Price.

The Blue Jays might be able to make a strong offer, but as with any ace on the market, there's always one team out there that usually blows all the others out of the water in terms of years and dollars.

If Alex Anthopoulos received the support of ownership to make a push for Russell Martin this past offseason, I don't see why they couldn't make a strong push for David Price this offseason. That is, so long as this "five year policy" is officially abolished.

The Blue Jays have been notorious for their inability to sign free agent pitchers, and this could be how they get their foot in the door on somebody like David Price; especially if this move helps propel the Blue Jays into the playoffs.


Price Can Deliver in the AL East


David Price certainly has the pedigree to pitch within the American League East, so there's no question he could stand up to the likes of pitching against the Yankees, Orioles and his former friends, the Tampa Bay Rays.

I like Stoeten's idea of tabling an offer surrounding Drew Hutchison. While the Jays would certainly make that exchange in a heartbeat, I don't know if Hutchison is enough on their end to get a deal done.

The Detroit Tigers were reported to be seeking Major League-ready arms, and Drew Hutchison definitely fits that profile. On the flip side, if the Tigers have no interest in Hutchison, then it's a moot point altogether.

But if the Detroit Tigers fancy someone like Daniel Norris and/or Dalton Pompey, as difficult as that trade would be to make, the Blue Jays should seriously consider doing it.

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