The Toronto Blue Jays made the stunning decision to trade star outfielder Teoscar Hernandez to the Seattle Mariners on Wednesday. The surprise move caught just about everyone off guard. Hernandez was a productive player for the Blue Jays throughout his tenure, and despite launching 25 home runs last season, the team opted against bringing him back in 2023. According to Shi Davidi of Sportsnet, the Blue Jays made the trade in order to open up some “financial flexibility.”

Hernandez was expected to earn $14 million in 2023, so the Blue Jays effectively saved more than $12 million by swapping him for Erik Swanson. In addition to the money saved by parting ways with Hernandez, the Blue Jays opened up an additional $6.5 million in funds by moving on from Bradley Zimmer and Raimel Tapia.

While the team's precise goal with the additional financial maneuverability remains to be seen, it stands to reason that Toronto could be plotting a move for a big fish in free agency.

Hernandez is set to hit free agency after the 2023 MLB season, so the Blue Jays opted to flip the 30-year-old now rather than risk losing him for no return down the line.

The full deal saw Teoscar Hernandez traded to the Mariners in exchange for Erik Swanson and Adam Macko. The Blue Jays were in dire need of a bullpen boost and got exactly that in the swap with Seattle, while also opening some funds to become players in free agency.

Last season, Hernandez slashed .267/.316/.491 with 25 home runs and 77 RBI. As for Swanson, the 29-year-old recorded a 1.68 ERA across 57 appearances. He pitched 53.2 innings and recorded 70 strikeouts in what was his best season to date.