If you were the GM of the Toronto Blue Jays, would you consider trading away top prospect Richard Urena?
I want to start by stating that I have not heard any trade rumors involving or related to Blue Jays top infield prospect Richard Urena.
In no way is this piece meant to generate false trade scenarios or be used to generate views.
I was just thinking back to when Blue Jays GM Ross Atkins stated that Toronto would be adding and not subtracting from his club in an attempt to make the playoffs in 2017. Shaun summed up Atkins’ comments in this piece (read me) and offered his views.
When the Blue Jays made a push for the playoffs in 2015 previous GM, Alex Anthopoulos, mortgaged the farm system’s girth of high ceiling left-handed pitchers to acquire the pieces needed to push a .500 club into its first playoff appearance in over two decades. It is safe to say that our farm system has yet to recover from this purge.
So what would the current Blue Jays front office team of Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins use if their intention is once again to acquire the necessary piece(s) to push another .500 team over the hump in the hopes of making the playoffs for the third straight season?
This question is what brought me to assess the trade value of New Hampshire Fisher Cats’ shortstop and a prospect that would be rated in the Top 10 of every major league farm system, Richard Urena.
In order to add value, we must give up value.
First, Troy Tulowitzki currently occupies the position that Urena is hoping to one day fill. Tulo’s contract status has him signed through 2020 with a 2021 option. I might be jumping the gun, but I’m going to assume that Urena, currently in Double-A, will challenge for an everyday major job prior to the 2020 season.
Second, while many pre-season Top Prospect lists had Urena ranked as Toronto’s top shortstop prospect. This may no longer be the case. Bo Bichette, 2016 2nd round pick, is having a monster season with the A-Ball Lansing Lugnuts.
Yes, Bichette is two levels below Urena; however, Bichette is showing more polish than Urena did when he manned shortstop for the Lugnuts in 2015. So we aren’t comparing apples to oranges, both players were/are 19-yrs-old when they played short in Lansing.
Urena’s struggles in Double-A and Bichette’s superior numbers in Lansing may have pushed Bo’s stock higher than Urena, making Urena expandable.
Lastly, this year’s draft. The Blue Jays selected (unsigned at the time of publishing) SS with their 1st and 5th picks. It might be too early, maybe even a stretch, to think that SS taken in this year’s draft would render Urena expandable but I wanted to cover all possible angles.
Urena projects as an offensive middle infielder with a chance to stick at shortstop. I would consider him as a ‘close to major league’ ready prospect having parts of two season at Double-A.
His 2016 numbers aren’t likely to wow opposing GM’s. The 21-yr-old switch hitter’s upside is still enough for a GM with an eye on the future to view him in high esteem.
Alone, the native of Dominican Republic is unlikely to get the Blue Jays a substantial return; however, his status as a top prospect would be a nice addition to any trade talks.
Trade away the future for a chance to win now or stand pat and hope a prospect develops as projected. Unless you own a crystal ball, the right decision is never an easy decision.
It would surprise if Urena were still in the Blue Jays organization come August. Tulo, Bichette and the possible addition of 1st round pick Logan Warmoth will be enough that Atkins can dangle Urena’s name around the league as trade talks start to heat up.
*Featured Image Mandatory Credit: C.Stem JFtC
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