Out of contention themselves, the Jays managed to deal some Read more →
What Should The Jays Do Today?
Today is Major League Baseball’s non-waiver trading deadline. The Blue Jays have two months left in what has been a disappointing season. Touted as favourites to win the AL East coming into the year, the end of July finds the team mired in last place in the AL East 9.5 games back of a playoff spot and needing a small miracle to make the postseason. Despite finding themselves in a situation that would ordinarily dictate selling off some assets, there is no obvious strategy for the club to approach the deadline as it was just this past offseason that the club loaded up with the aim of competing for a championship over the next three to four years. With the exception of Josh Johnson, none of the team’s major assets have contracts expiring this year which would make them trade chips. The pitching staff has been a disappointment and an upgrade would be welcome, but the team actually has a relative abundance of starters who should be MLB calibre under contract for next year. One option fans would normally expect Alex Anthopoulos to pursue would be high upside players who have under performed this year and have a chance to bounce back in 2014, but his pitching staff is already loaded with such players. So where does all of this leave the Jays heading into the deadline? Let’s look at some candidates:
Toronto’s relievers been a pleasant surprise this year and with contenders always looking to upgrade their bullpen I would be surprised if the Jays didn’t deal someone. The Jays have a wealth of left-handed relievers in particular and with his retirement looming, Darren Oliver would be the most logical candidate.
After a slow start, Buehrle has been quite dependable. He’s coming off of two strong starts and may draw some interest. He’s 34 and scheduled to make $37 million over the next two seasons so the Jays may be wise to cash out now. However, it’s for these very reasons that fans shouldn’t expect a huge return if they do. Given the struggles of the Jays starters I expect Anthopoulos will hold on to the one pitcher he has been able to rely on this year.
Rogers has been another pleasant surprise this year and is a ‘sell high’ candidate. Toronto has a wealth of back-of-the-rotation starters right now and if Rogers could be packaged to bring back a higher end talent it would be a wise mover. However, I expect that other general managers might not be ready to buy in on Rogers just yet.
Coming into this season it was assumed that if the team under performed it was a given that Johnson could be traded at the deadline for a significant return. However, Johnson has had such an awful season that there likely isn’t a lot of interest. The most likely scenario would be that Anthopoulos rolls the dice on Johnson again this offseason by giving him a qualifying offer which would see him paid about $14 million next year if he accepts or would net the Jays a first round pick if he were to decline.
It has been rumoured that the Jays are shopping Bonifacio- not surprising given that Bonifacio is a free agent at the end of the year and has performed poorly. What would be surprising would be if anybody gave up anything of value to acquire Bonifacio
Davis too is due to become a free agent. He’s a decent fourth outfielder and an elite base stealer- a skill set that could make him valuable to a contender. However, the same skill set makes him a candidate to be re-signed as well. If the price is right I wouldn’t be surprised to see Davis dealt, but if it isn’t I’d be just as happy to see him in a Toronto uniform next year.
Lind has had a strong season after a few years in the wilderness and is another ‘sell high’ candidate. He’s struggled somewhat lately as the plate discipline so essential to his success earlier in the year has waned, but I expect there is still some interest in Lind and he has options for the next three years which suddenly seem quite reasonable.
The honeymoon definitely seems to be over in Toronto for the Jays strikeout prone slugger and many fans are ready to move on, but the return on Arencibia would likely be low and if the Jays intend to compete next year dealing away their primary backstop with whom the pitching staff may just now be getting comfortable could be counterproductive. I’d be very surprised if Arencibia was moved.
Bautista turns 33 this year and is a star player on a team friendly contract who could draw a huge return. For a team that was looking to rebuild dealing Bautista would be a no-brainer, but few expect Alex Anthopoulos to go this route. I would be stunned if Jose was wearing anything other than a Jays uniform tomorrow.