By Andrew Hendriks
Canadian Baseball Network
In advance of Tuesday's non-waiver trade deadline, the Toronto Blue Jays have dealt right-handed reliever Roberto Osuna to the Houston Astros in exchange for a trio of righties in Ken Giles, David Paulino, and Hector Perez.
Giles, 27, has pitched to an ERA of 2.72 with 367 strikeouts and 77 saves over parts of five big league seasons. Signed by Philadelphia in the seventh round of the 2011 amateur draft, the hard-throwing product of Albuquerque, N.M., joins Toronto with two seasons of team control remaining on his current contract.
Through 34 appearances with the Astros in 2018, the former Rookie of the Year candidate has allowed 17 earned runs on 36 hits while striking out 31 batters and issuing only three walks on the season.
In limited action at the Major League level, Paulino, 24, has made seven starts and posted an ERA of 6.25 in 36 innings. His most productive season came in 2016 while pitching for three of Houston's minor league affiliates and notching a career-high 106 strikeouts over 90 cumulative innings.
Reaching double-A for the first time earlier this month, Perez, 22, has recorded an ERA of 3.73 through 89 1/3 innings between Corpus Christi and high-A Buies Creek in 2018.
Suspended for 75 games due to violating Major League Baseball's Joint Domestic Violence, Sexual Assult and Child Abuse policy, Osuna is eligible to return on August 4 and will qualify for postseason action should the American League West-leading Astros punch their ticket back to October baseball once again this fall.
Osuna, who signed with the Blue Jays as a 16-year-old back in 2011, departs Toronto having saved the third most games in franchise history (103) over the course of four seasons dating back to his Major League debut in 2015. He, too, had two years of team control remaining on his current deal.
In order to make room on the Blue Jays' 40-man roster for both Ken Giles and David Paulino, RHP Oliver Drake was designated for assignment while 3B Josh Donaldson has been transferred to the 60-day disabled list.
Sidelined with left calf tightness following a May 28 game againt Boston, Donaldson continues to work towards a return down in Dunedin, though no firm timetable has been released at this point. Given the fact that the 32-year old slugger has already suffered one set back on his current DL stint, an extended rehab assignment may be in the cards as the organization will look to ease him back into playing duties.
Through 36 games with the Blue Jays prior to the calf troubles, Donaldson slashed .234/.333/.423 with an OPS of .757, 187 points off his cumulative total through 113 games in 2017.
Drake appeared in two games after being claimed off waivers from the Angels last Thursday. Over an inning and two-thirds of work, the 31-year old hurler allowed three runs on four hits, three of which went for extras.
Return of the Marc
Activated on Monday, Toronto's series opener vs. the Oakland Athletics will mark Marco Estrada's first Major League appearance since departing during the first inning of a July 3 start vs. the New York Mets at Rogers Centre.
Originally shelved with a left glute strain, Estrada got into just one rehab tilt with the triple-A Bisons during his recent rehab stint. On July 24, the veteran changeup artist tossed three and a third innings of three-run ball prior to being forced off the mound after developing a blister.
Monday's start will be the Blue Jays last opportunity to showcase the 35-year-old potential trade target ahead of Tuesday's deadline. Checking in at 15 games above .500, Oakland remains in contention for a Wild Card spot and Estrada's performance should serve as a fair case study for any interested teams looking to add an experienced starter in an attempt to make a run at the postseason.
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