How bad? They were willing to give Austin Martin, the fifth overall pick (and arguably second overall talent) in last year's draft, for him. Oh, and also another top-100 prospect.
But is Berrios all he's cracked up to be? Has he ever been? One of the most polarizing pitchers since he debuted in 2016, he's never quite lived up to the lofty expectations for some while others have suggested he's on the verge of collapse. For all the histrionics, his stats are typically solid, but unspectacular. Here's where they stand this year:
That's actually his career-best ERA. It's also the first time he's had a WHIP below 1.14. He has never had 10 K/9. Is that an ace? Or is that just a good, solid contributor that every team would like to have?
I think most Fantasy Baseballers understand that the main thing Berrios brings to the table is volume. You can bank on him for 6-7 innings every time through, and that's certainly valuable in today's game. But if the ratios take a turn for the worse, it could end up doing as much harm as good.
One of the reasons I think Berrios has so consistently straddled the line between his best-case outcome and his worst-case outcome is because he has pitched in a neutral environment, with Target Field leaning ever so slightly toward pitchers but ultimately playing fairer than most venues. He himself is a neutral pitcher, but he leans ever so slightly toward putting the ball in the air. That along with his modest strikeout ability is why he's delivered some unsightly xFIPs over the years, specifically in 2017, 2019 and 2020:
His ERA always came in lower, but does that hold true if he goes to a not-so-neutral environment? It's not just Toronto (or any of the other places the Blue Jays call home). The AL East is the division most slanted toward hitting, with all but one of its venues (Tampa Bay) favoring home runs.
I'm not saying the bottom falls out for Berrios, but if this move takes him from a mid-threes ERA to a low-fours ERA, we'll regard him in a different light. Doesn't mean we should already regard him in that light -- I'd classify my concerns as moderate rather than severe -- but nonetheless, my concerns have been raised. Stock down slightly with this move.
As for what the Blue Jays are getting back, it's further evidence that this deadline period is a seller's market. Martin, even while disappointing with his power production in his first year, is a consensus top-20 prospect. He's capable of manning several premium positions, and his on-base skills are so good that he doesn't necessarily need to develop middle-of-the-order power (not that I'm putting it past him). Anthony Rendon is a comp I've made in the past.
Starting pitcher Simeon Woods Richardson is the other piece going back to the Twins, and while he has also disappointed this year, the evaluators don't seem particularly discouraged by it. The leap to Double-A was a big one for a 20-year-old coming off a lost year, and the strikeouts have at least been steady. He has a good understanding of how to play his fastball off his changeup for a pitcher his age, which should immediately make him the best in the Twins system (with apologies to Jordan Balazovic).