Toronto Blue Jays manager Alex Anthopoulos got the jump on the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline, working out a 10-player trade with the Houston Astros that has landed the American League club three pitchers.
The Blue Jays are getting left-handed starter J.A. Happ along with right-handers Brandon Lyon and David Carpenter.
In exchange the Blue Jays have agreed to send outfielder Ben Francisco and right-handed reliever Francisco Cordero, who are on the team’s 25-man roster, along with minor-league pitchers Asher Wojciechowski, Joe Musgrove, David Rollins, catcher Carlos Perez and a player to be named later to the Astros.
The Blue Jays have also recalled outfielder Travis Snider from Triple-A Las Vegas and is expected to be in uniform in time for Friday night’s game in Boston against the Red Sox.
Anthopoulos said the deal made sense from a Toronto standpoint as he didn’t have to surrender any of his top minor league prospects in order to bolster a Blue Jays pitching staff that has been ravaged by injury.
“I know there’s a lot of players involved in this deal,” Anthopoulos said on Friday. “I think it looks like a greater deal because of the quantity of players.
“But at the end of the day we gave up some guys in A-ball that we think have a chance to be alright. And we got some much-needed depth that can help us for the current year and going forward.”
Anthopoulos said, for the time being, both Happ and Lyon will work out of the bullpen for the Blue Jays while Carpenter will report to Toronto’s Triple-A team in Las Vegas.
For Happ, Anthopoulos said his stint in the bullpen will only last until one of the pitchers in the starting rotation begins to struggle.
“When someone falters or someone does not do well J.A. will be waiting in the wings to get his opportunity,” Anthopoulos said.
Happ is in his sixth MLB season and the 29-year-old has posted a 7-9 record with the Astros this season with a 4.83 ERA in 18 starts.
The Peru, Ill., native has posted 12 quality starts in his last 18 outings and has allowed three or fewer runs in four of his last five outings.
The 6-6, 195-pound left-hander owns a 32-33 career record with a 4.16 ERA in his six seasons with Philadelphia (2007-10) and Houston (2010-12).
Lyon, 32, is 0-2 with a 3.75 ERA in 37 relief appearances and is returning to the Blue Jays after breaking into the Major Leagues with the club in 2001-02.
Lyon is in his 11th season having posted a 36-45 record with a 4.17 ERA and 78 saves in 505 games, including 21 starts, all with Toronto.
Carpenter, 27, is in his second Major League season having posted a 0-2 record with a 6.07 ERA in 30 relief appearances.
As for Snider, who returns to the big league team after spending all of the 2012 season with Las Vegas where he has posted a .335 average with 13 home runs and 56 RBI in 56 games, his reemergence in Toronto will push Rajai Davis back into a part-time role in the outfield.
Anthopoulos said that both Snider and Anthony Gose, who was called up earlier in the week when Jose Bautista injured his wrist, will get the majority of playing time.
“When Jose Bautista comes back off the DL we would then make a decision between Anthony Gose and Travis with respect to who would stay, depending on who is playing the best between the two of them,” Anthopoulos said.