The human element of the trade deadline is often forgotten and though he’s joining a genuine World Series contender in the Houston Astros, Aaron Sanchez bid an emotional farewell to the only professional club he’s ever known.
Sanchez, along with Joe Biagini and Cal Stevenson, were traded from the Toronto Blue Jays to the Astros in exchange for outfielder Derek Fisher ahead of the deadline Wednesday. Houston also added six-time All-Star Zack Greinke in a separate deal.
Sanchez, who was selected by the Blue Jays in the first round of the 2010 MLB Draft, said a poignant goodbye to reporters upon being dealt.
“First off, this journey started 10 years ago. I was a 17-year-old kid who had aspirations of pitching in the big leagues and this wouldn't be possible if it wasn't for guys like Alex and Tony and Bob Fontaine and Blake Crosby and everybody who did their due diligence on the amateur side to get me in this position,” Sanchez said.
“It's been a crazy nine years for sure, and the last four, a true dream to be able to play for a nation, to be able to put this uniform on. A little bittersweet. Obviously, I'm thrilled for the opportunity that I got to go pitch in Houston and learn from the guys that they have.”
Full deal is Aaron Sanchez, Joe Biagini and Cal Stevenson for Derek Fisher. Sanchez was emotional speaking to media. Began conversation by thanking #BlueJays who drafted and developed him, and fans for support. Excited to join #Astros— Shi Davidi (@ShiDavidi) July 31, 2019
The trajectory of the Blue Jays has changed dramatically during Sanchez’s tenure in the big leagues. Toronto made a concerted push for World Series contention in 2015 and 2016, only to lose in the ALCS in consecutive years.
Sanchez certainly appreciated the heightened atmosphere at the Rogers Centre and around the city during both playoff runs.
“I just want to say thanks to the fans. Thanks for all the memories, thanks for supporting us through everything. You made 2015 and 2016 an unbelievable two years for me. I don't know how else to say it but I appreciate you guys for sticking behind me. I know these last few years have kind of been not so high compared to where they were when I first got here. The love I've always got from you guys, I'll always be appreciative.”
Sanchez is the headliner in the trade, but others were outwardly more enthused about the transaction. Biagini could barely mask his delight to join the AL West powerhouse.
What do you need to know about Fisher, then? Well, he’s not the former Los Angeles Lakers guard/New York Knicks head coach, for starters.
Fisher played a small role in the Astros’ 2017 World Series victory. He’s slashed .317/.358/.675 splits in 53 at-bats, while struggling to crack the Astros’ vaunted lineup and perhaps will see more playing time on the rebuilding Blue Jays.
Thanks for the memories, Aaron. We’ll always have those runs to the ALCS.
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