The Toronto Blue Jays got a jumpstart on the trade deadline by acquiring outfielder Colby Rasmus, utility player Mark Teahen and three relievers in a pair of blockbuster deals with Chicago and St. Louis.
Rasmus is the biggest acquisition for Toronto. The 24-year-old was batting .246 for the Cardinals this season with 14 doubles, six triples, 11 home runs and 40 RBIs.
He arrived as part of an eight-player deal that saw the Jays send outfielder Corey Patterson, right-handed starter Edwin Jackson and relievers Marc Rzepczynski and Octavio Dotel to St. Louis. The Cardinals will also receive three players to be named later or cash considerations.
In exchange, Toronto added Rasmus and relievers Brian Tallet, Trever Miller and P.J. Walters.
Jackson had been acquired earlier in the day as part of a four-player deal with the White Sox. He and Teahan came from Chicago for reliever Jason Frasor and pitching prospect Zach Stewart.
It was a dramatic overhaul for a Blue Jays team that carried a 51-52 record into Wednesday night’s game against Baltimore. Baseball’s non-waiver trade deadline is Sunday.
Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos had long had his eye on Rasmus, a former first-round pick who has a career .259 average with 50 homers and 158 RBIs in 385 games.
The team’s bullpen has been shaken up dramatically. Gone are Frasor, Rzepczynski and Dotel in place of Tallet and Miller, who will each start their second stint in Toronto.
The 26-year-old Walters has spent the majority of the season with triple-A Memphis.
Teahen was signed as a free agent before last season to be Chicago’s starting third baseman. The 29-year-old was derailed by injuries and ended up as bench player for White Sox manager Ozzie Guillen. He hit .203 in 51 games this season with three homers and 11 RBIs.
“Mixed emotions for sure,” said Teahen, a naturalized Canadian who gained citizenship through his father. “Obviously, I’m disappointed in the way it all worked out here. I wanted it to go a lot different.”
Frasor is a native of the Chicago area. The 33-year-old right-hander had been the longest-serving member of the Blue Jays and recently set a new franchise mark for the most appearances.
He was 2-1 with an ERA of 2.98 in 44 games this season.
“He’s one of the top quality relievers in baseball,” said White Sox general manager Kenny Williams. “He will fit in.”
Stewart was a third-round pick of the Cincinnati Reds in 2008. The 24-year-old started three games for the Blue Jays this season, going 0-1 with a 4.86 ERA. He was 5-5 with a 4.20 ERA for double-A New Hampshire.
Stewart will be assigned to triple-A Charlotte.
It appears the deal will cost former Blue Jays outfielder Alex Rios some playing time. Rios was traded to Chicago last year and has hit just .208 this season in 97 games despite a hefty long-term contract.
On Wednesday, the White Sox recalled centre-fielder Alejandro De Aza from Charlotte and put him in the lineup for an afternoon game against the Detroit Tigers.
“The other part of doing what we did today, that allowed us to get De Aza in the lineup in centre field,” said Williams. “That affords us to give Ozzie something more than honestly what (Alex) Rios is giving us. Rios is going to have to take a back seat now.”
With files from The Associated Press