Tom Koehler! Stop the presses, the Jays got Tom Koehler!
And, because they’re jerks, they did it on a Saturday afternoon, and apparently I now have to write about the damn thing.
In the deal they give up Osman Gutierrez, a 22-year-old RHP at Lansing who didn’t make the club’s most recent MLB Pipeline top 30 prospects list, but apparently still has enough upside — and enough years of cheap control left — to be of value to time Marlins.
Not tooooooo much value, though. Because all they’re giving up in the deal is Tom Koehler.
THE Tom Koehler!
THIS COULDN’T HAVE WAITED UNTIL MONDAY??
So what do we need to know about Koehler? Here are a series of tweets I’m hoping will do most of my job for me on that front:
Koehler, 31, has been up and down all season.— Keegan Matheson (@KeeganMatheson) August 19, 2017
MLB: 7.92 ERA in 55.2 IP
AAA: 1.67 ERA in 37.2 IP#BlueJays
Koehler is making $5.75M this season. Another year of arbitration control left before FA eligible. #BlueJays— Keegan Matheson (@KeeganMatheson) August 19, 2017
Koehler's ugly ERA at MLB level this season is due to HR rate that's way outside of career norm. Threw 175+ MLB innings each of last 3 years— Keegan Matheson (@KeeganMatheson) August 19, 2017
Blue Jays traded for a toilet— MLB Insider Dinger (@atf13atf) August 19, 2017
American Standard is the Jays' official toilet. I'm sure they're not happy with the Ko(e)her acquisition. https://t.co/liUouQr1l3— Minor Leaguer (@Minor_Leaguer) August 19, 2017
On first blush, I’d sorta like think the Blue Jays would feel they could do better than paying Koehler whatever minimal arbitration raise he’s due this winter and letting him genuinely compete for a rotation spot next spring. Replacing Estrada and Liriano with, say, Biagini and Koehler isn’t exactly befitting a team that’s going to market itself as a potential contender. But maybe they want him for precisely that, and because he might help them in the short term right now, as the club seeks ways to no longer let guys like Nick Tepesch pitch for them. I guess that makes sense, but… I dunno. Because despite Keegan’s pointing out of the HR problems driving his bloated big league ERA, or the fact that he’s made 30-plus big league starts for the Marlins in each of the previous three seasons, he’s still bad. Even at the best of times. He’s still Tom Koehler. It seems just as likely he’s a non-tender as it does that he’s here to be a real, useful piece at the big league level.
Uh… doesn’t it?
The other side of this coin is that the Jays sure as hell could have used a starter like Koehler — who can at least five-and-dive with basic competency — throughout this season. Koehler was worth four-and-a-half wins from 2013 to 2016, ranging between 0.5 and 1.6 in each season. That’s not real sexy, but if you think about the cost of a win in free agency, the need this club has for depth, and what a pitcher like Koehler (the good, pre-2017 version, at least) could have done for these Jays, and maybe you start to believe it’s a bigger move than it feels like. He fits the mold of the OK floor/low ceiling starter this front office tends to covet. And if the aim is to maybe have him as a swing man/insurance on the big league roster (which it might have to be, though I don’t know what his option status is — he was optioned this season by Miami, but, interestingly, that was ultimately voided, as it turned he was injured and the Marlins would likely have faced a grievance from the union if he’d been sent to the minor league DL),… uh, maybe that works.
Unless he continues to suck, that is. Worth finding out if you’re the Jays and you’re not as high on Gutierrez as the rest of the industry is, I suppose. I don’t know! Let’s think about this later!