OAKLAND -- The Blue Jays avoided a potentially awkward reunion with Roberto Osuna by trading the troubled closer to the Astros for reliever Ken Giles and a pair of promising prospects on Monday.Giles, the former Houston closer, is the biggest name coming to the Blue Jays, but just as key
OAKLAND -- The Blue Jays avoided a potentially awkward reunion with Roberto Osuna by trading the troubled closer to the Astros for reliever Ken Giles and a pair of promising prospects on Monday.
Giles, the former Houston closer, is the biggest name coming to the Blue Jays, but just as key to the deal are the prospects, Hector Perez and David Paulino, who were ranked Houston's No. 10 and No. 23 prospects, respectively, per MLB Pipeline.
Osuna had not pitched for the Blue Jays since May 6. He was arrested and charged with assault by Toronto police on May 8, and his case is still before the courts. He was initially placed on an administrative leave and later suspended 75 games for violating Major League Baseball's Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assault and Child Abuse policy.
"This was [a trade] that made sense from a baseball perspective," general manager Ross Atkins said. "We're extremely excited about Giles, Perez and Paulino joining the organization. I think for many reasons, this deal made sense. It starts with the talent we're acquiring.
"Regarding the incident and the accusations. It is a very, very complicated situation. We are human beings, and everything is a variable when we're making decisions, but ultimately, this was a good baseball deal that made sense for us."
When the Blue Jays traded lefty J.A. Happ to the Yankees last week in exchange for infielder Brandon Drury and outfielder Billy McKinney, Atkins stated that his focus would shift to acquiring more pitching depth for the Minor Leagues. He accomplished that through this deal by bringing in a couple of young arms who immediately slide into Toronto's group of top prospects.
Per MLB Pipeline, Perez becomes the Blue Jays' No. 11 prospect. The 22-year-old hits 93-99 mph with a two-seamer that has impressive sink and a four-seamer that has "explosive riding life." He has struggled with the control of his slider and curveball, but this season his walks are down, from 6.5 per nine innings to 4.8.
Paulino becomes Toronto's No. 20 prospect. Last year he was ranked No. 44 in all of baseball by MLB Pipeline, but his stock dropped because of an 80-game suspension after testing positive for a banned substance. He has a 4.67 ERA in seven combined starts in the Minors this season.
"This is the first step in that, adding three pitchers," Atkins said, referring to increasing his pitching depth. "Perez is a guy that was in the top 10 for Houston and will immediately go into the upper rankings of our organization and will be one of our better pitching prospects.
"It is extremely hard to acquire young, controllable pitching that is already at a high level and performing relatively well. This is the first step, and that will continue to be a focus. It doesn't mean we won't acquire position players ... but if we're splitting ties, we will have a lean toward pitching."
Osuna was eligible to rejoin the Blue Jays on Sunday in Seattle. Atkins had previously stated that Osuna would return as Toronto's full-time closer after the suspension was over, but the club had been aggressively shopping him in recent weeks with the hopes of working something out before Tuesday's non-waiver Trade Deadline (4 p.m. ET).
Osuna's lawyer is scheduled to appear on his client's behalf in a Toronto courtroom on Wednesday. The Blue Jays previously stated that they fully supported the 75-game suspension; Atkins said this deal wasn't entirely about public relations.
"Ultimately, [the suspension] was a negotiated agreement between Major League Baseball and the Players' Association," he said. "We did not have further say in increasing that punishment in any way. What was negotiated is something that we were going to deal with. Ultimately, we would adjust based on the Toronto police service and any other information that came out. But if he were allowed to work, the game of baseball and the Toronto Blue Jays were going to allow him to come back to work.
"We do feel a responsibility to the fans, we do feel empathy for the fans, and we ultimately work for the fans. That's how we do our jobs. We are human, and it is very difficult for accusations not to influence us in some way. Having said that, this made sense for the organization from a baseball perspective."
Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.