Astros Add Utility Infielder, Blue Jays Add Pitching Option
With the 40-man roster deadline looming next Tuesday, the Blue Jays added a young, big league ready pitcher who could contribute either as a starter or reliever in 2019 while the Astros found a potential replacement for free agent Marwin Gonzalez.
Blue Jays Acquire
Trent Thornton, RHP
The Astros would have needed to add Thornton to their 40-man roster by Tuesday roster deadline or risk leaving him available for the Rule 5 draft. He didn’t really fit in the club’s long-term plans because Forrest Whitley, Framber Valdez, Corbin Martin, Josh James and J.B. Bukauskas are all ahead of him on the club’s starting pitching depth chart. But Thornton can help a big league club thanks to a wide array of pitches and flashes of premium velocity. Thornton can touch 97 mph, although he sits 92-93.He throws a curveball, slider, changeup and cutter, and both his slider and curveball show enough promise where there’s hope that one or both of them could end up as above-average pitches. He’s a strike-thrower with plus command and control, and there is some deception to his delivery. Thornton could work as either a back-of-the-rotation starter or a power reliever. And with his flashes of velocity, deception, command and secondaries, he’s got a better chance to exceed his expected role than most back-end starters. After two seasons in Triple-A, he’s ready for a shot at the big leagues.
Aledmys Diaz, SS
This is becoming an offseason tradition for Diaz, as the Cardinals sent him to the Blue Jays around this time last year deciding to send him to Toronto. With Marwin Gonzalez now a free agent, Diaz gives the Astros a potential replacement. Diaz is not rangy enough to be an idea solution as an everyday shortstop, but he plays it well enough to fill in at the position while also showing the versatility to play pretty much anywhere else on the diamond. He’s played second and third base and in corner outfield spots in the past, although he’s never gotten the extensive playing time at multiple positions like Gonzalez has. Unlike many utility infielders, Diaz has significant pop. He’s topped 15 home runs in two of the past three seasons. Diaz will not reach arbitration until after this season, so the Astros have added a low-cost useful backup with a solid bat at an inexpensive price.