According to one report, the Toronto Blue Jays have talked about obtaining help at second base as they approach the July 31st Trade Deadline
The Toronto Blue Jays are in a weird spot heading into this year’s July 31st Trade Deadline. No one really knows if they are ‘buyers’, or ‘sellers’, or some kind of hybrid. The position they’re in might actually be more difficult to navigate than if they were clearly in one camp, or the other. Perhaps, no position on their roster exemplifies this than second base.
For a long time, we’ve all been waiting for Devon Travis (insert obligatory Jays From the Couch Devon Travis statement of infatuation) to take the starting job and run with it. Here we are in July, 2017 and we’re still waiting. That wait has been put on hold with another knee injury sidelining him for what could be the rest of the season. Obviously, we, and the Blue Jays, are hoping that is not the case. But, GM, Ross Atkins, has to be thinking about how he can still salvage the 2017 season.
To that end, it would appear that the club has discussed how they can address their needs at second base. In his latest ‘MLB Insider‘, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports drops a line that the Blue Jays have had discussions about the position. Does one really need to be an “insider” to make this sort of claim? I mean, isn’t it obvious that the Blue Jays have talked about second base? It would be more news-worthy if we knew exactly what that conversation entailed, no? For all we know, the discussion could have been: “Let’s ride Ryan Goins until Devon gets back”.
But, let’s assume that the front office hasn’t been just blowing smoke every time they said they were interested in adding to compete this season (and beyond). If that is true, then perhaps, they aren’t so comfortable riding the GO(ins) Train at the keystone position.
Let’s be real, having Goins (and Darwin Barney) as the replacement(s) hasn’t even provided replacement level performance.
Here's something to consider:
Darwin Barney's 2017 wRC+: 52
Ryan Goins' 2017 wRC+: 57
Could make 2B #BlueJays priority at Deadline
— Jays From the Couch (@JaysFromCouch) July 9, 2017
If defense is your thing, the Goins (0 DRS) and Barney (-1 DRS) combo might not be as reliable as you might think. The defense certainly hasn’t been worthy of everyday at bats. You have to know the front office is thinking the same. But, what do they do?
Well, we have heard that they are interested in Dee Gordon, who the Marlins will need to eat money on. It would be a great fit for the Blue Jays, but the financial commitment appears to be too high (right now) for Toronto. Things could change as the Trade Deadline period approaches the final hours, of course. Let’s be honest, for just about any proven talent, there will be some sort of cost, whether it is prospect capital or cold, hard cash.
Heyman mentioned the Blue Jays in his comments on Ian Kinsler, who is having a down year and could be available. He would certainly be a name that fans would be familiar with, but would he make sense for the Blue Jays? He’s slashing .240/.323/.387, which is below his career mark. He isn’t striking out very often. But, according to Fangraphs, he is seeing more infield flyballs than he ever has, which is never a good sign. He’s making $11M this season and has a team option for 2018 for $12M with a $5M buyout.
Let’s say that Toronto is, in fact, interested in Kinsler. They have a few more years of control on Travis, and you have to think his knee issues would have healed by next season (we’ve hoped before…), so if they feel Travis is the second baseman moving forward, they would have to buyout Kinsler for $5M, try and trade him in the offseason, or keep him for 2018 and pay him $12M. It seems an odd commitment for the Blue Jays, but one supposes it would certainly be more short term than going after Dee Gordon.
Realistically, the fact that the Blue Jays front office staff are having conversations about second base is not earth shattering. They shouldn’t be in the positions they’re in if they aren’t. Saying things the way Heyman does may generate intrigue, but we shouldn’t get too caught up in this kind of talk. Instead, we should really pay attention when someone actually links the Blue Jays to another club for a specific (set of) player(s). Anything else at this time of year is just stating the obvious.
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