Blue Jays NEED to Start Auditions for 2018 and Beyond

The Chicago White Sox continue to press the reset button by trading for assets. Is it time for the Toronto Blue Jays to do the same?

 

The first shoe has dropped.

 

 

Teams with little chance of making the playoffs in 2017 are starting to look to future. The Chicago White Sox continue to press the reset button by trading for assets. Is it time for the Toronto Blue Jays to do the same?

 

Despite being just 4 games out of a Wild Card spot, the Toronto Blue Jays should consider looking beyond the 2017 season.

 

Here are the facts:

  • Blue Jays are not a playoff team; therefore, should be sellers and not buyers
  • With an average age of 30.4, the Blue Jays are the oldest major league team in 2017
  • Blue Jays will likely lose 2/5 of their starting rotation this offseason
  •  Blue Jays will likely lose 2/3 of their outfield this offseason

 

Due to injuries, Blue Jays fans have already gotten a glimpse of prized prospect Anthony Alford. Unfortunately, Alford’s audition came to an abrupt end thanks to a broken hamate bone. Dwight Smith Jr. and Ian Parmley have also made their MLB debuts in 2017. The Blue Jays bullpen was strengthened with the addition of Danny Barnes and Ryan Tepera, both homegrown products.

 

Using Ryan Tepera as an example, not all prospects need to appear on Top Prospect lists to make an impact. Not all prospects immediately find success and claim their spot on the roster. Just because a player does well in the Majors and is demoted back to Triple-A doesn’t mean he failed….utilizing minor league opinions will aid in strengthening the Major League club.

 

The are players on the Blue Jays 40-man roster that are not part of the future; therefore, should be cut to make space for auditioning prospects.

 

Guys like Jeff Beliveau, Mike Bolsinger, Lucas Harrell, Cesar Valdez, Luke Maile, Darwin Barney, Chris Coghlan, Ryan Goins, Ezequiel Carrera, and Harold Ramirez are all candidates to be waived/DFA’ed/Traded…whatever.

 

None of these guys are considered everyday players. They are band-aids or placeholders. That isn’t to say they don’t have value but not for a team that is looking to future.

 

Rotation

 

The Blue Jays should accelerate the development of Connor Greene, Francisco Rios, and Sean Reid-Foley by giving them a taste of the Major Leagues through the bullpen. Both Aaron Sanchez and Marcus Stroman started their careers in the bullpen.

 

Greene and SRF both have ‘middle of the rotation’ starters written all over them. Rios looks like he could one day fill the role of a 5th starter or long relief.

 

Greene’s 100 mph FB and above average curve would be a welcome addition to the bullpen. The Blue Jays could also use Greene as a long guy when a starter gets knocked out early…..which has happened far too much this year.

 

As a starter, SRF’s FB touches 97 mph. As RP, SRF could utilize this power FB along with his slider (already a plus offering) to prepare himself of a spot in the Blue Jays rotation in 2018.

 

Another possibility would be for the Blue Jays to trade Marco Estrada, J.A. Happ, or Francisco Liriano and have the three starters making spot starts between Toronto and Buffalo.

 

Bullpen

 

There are options aplenty in the bullpen. Matt Dermody and Chad Girodo both have gotten their feet wet with mixed results; however, I feel that they are in the minor leagues because of their minor league options than because of their results. Chris Smith could be thrown in this category as well.

 

Murphy Smith, John Stilson, and Tim Mayza are all waiting in Buffalo for a chance to prove they have major league caliber arms.

 

In New Hampshire, Andrew Case continues to have an amazing season. Carlos Ramirez is back from the DL and is throwing heat.

 

Infield

 

Jason Leblebijian, Christain Lopes, Tim Lopes, Jon Berti, and even Shane Opitz could all be added and subtracted to the 40-man roster with little worry about another team claiming them.

 

Leblebijian is a late bloomer. His Triple-A numbers and low ceiling scream part-time player.

 

Christian Lopes is having a career year in Buffalo. Lopes could prove to be a replacement level 2nd baseman. Unlike Devon Travis, Lopes has a proven track record of staying healthy.

 

Christian’s younger brother, Tim Lopes, is another option. Tim, like his brother, lacks the ceiling of a Top Prospect but has the tools to provide replacement level production at the major league level.

 

Lastly, Berti and Opitz are unlikely to stick at the major league level but both are likely to leave as MiLB free agents in the offseason. The club has invested the better part of a decade developing the pair, I’d like to know what they could do at the major league level before they walk.

 

Outfield

 

I’ve already mentioned Anthony Alford, Dwight Smith Jr, and Ian Parmley. Obviously, I’d like to see what Alford and Smith could do when given regular at-bats in Toronto.

 

I’d also like to see what the speedy Roemon Fields could do. Roemon is having a career year in Buffalo and seems to be developing into a very interesting bottom of the order 4th outfielder option.

 

Conclusion

 

Done correctly, auditioning a mix of top prospects and fringe prospects would allow the Blue Jays to assess the strengthens and weaknesses of the system. This information will allow the Front Office to allocate funds to shore up the weakness during the offseason or trade from a position of strength.

 

The downside to adding any of these prospects/farmhands is that by adding them to the 40-man roster you are starting their clocks. If they struggle and you send them down, that is one minor option used which Toronto may need down the road. This is something that they’ve already done this year with Anthony Alford.

 

 

 

*Featured Image Credit: Roy Widrig- JFtC

 

 

 

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Lover of all things Toronto Blue Jays. Blue Jays MiLB fanatic. I strive for average while stumbling onto above average. Rogers isn’t cheap. Baseball is a business. Your right, but I’m more right.

Ryan Mueller

Lover of all things Toronto Blue Jays. Blue Jays MiLB fanatic. I strive for average while stumbling onto above average. Rogers isn’t cheap. Baseball is a business. Your right, but I’m more right.