The Toronto Blue Jays head to the Trade Deadline looking like they’ll be sellers. Among their most valuable chips are Stroman & Sanchez. But, which is more valuable?
The Toronto Blue Jays are undoubtedly going to be sellers at this year’s Trade Deadline. They begin the last week of June 15 games out in the AL East and 10.5 back in the Wild Card race. It’s safe to say that many of the players they depended on to carry them through their outside shot at a playoff spot will now become available on the trade market, even if to varying degrees.
The obvious names of J.A. Happ, Marco Estrada, Tyler Clippard, John Axford, Seung Hwan Oh could be joined by others like Justin Smoak, Kevin Pillar and others. Obviously, the biggest trade chip Toronto had entering the season looked to be Josh Donaldson, but he’s struggled all year to be healthy and now will be out a while longer as he strained his calf…again. His trade value might be minimal at this point.
But, there are a couple of names that we may not have thought of before. At Fangraphs, Travis Sawchik talked about the Blue Jays looking ahead to 2020, which means selling off several pieces. And, at this point, thanks to the 2018 we’ve witnessed, not many people would argue with that idea. But, where some people might take issue is Sawchik mentioning Marcus Stroman as a valuable trade chip. He argues that the #StroShow has two more seasons of control left.
Now, Sawchik acknowledges that Stroman is the kind of pitcher you build around, which is true. If the Blue Jays are, in fact, going to aim for 2020, they’ll need Stroman in the rotation. But, the Fangraphs scribe done gone and planted the idea in my head.
Behind the scenes at Jays From the Couch, we’ve thrown this idea around over the last few days. And, with it came the natural extension of comparing everyone’s value. It led us to an interesting debate between Stroman and his (former?) buddy, Aaron Sanchez. Which presents more trade value?
***This is merely a fun, thought exercise. Not one person (that I know of) is suggesting the Blue Jays should, or will trade either of these two young studs. Let’s be honest, the club is losing at least two starters this summer, sending off another one, especially one of these two would make zero sense, especially if their eyes are on 2020.***
For his part, Marcus Stroman has been a 3+ fWAR player up until this season when he ran into some difficulty with his shoulder. His most recent start would indicate that those issues are gone. That means that he can go back to be a solid starter with excellent groundball skills. The rest of MLB knows what he has done, and can do. His energy on the mound and his ability to embrace his teammates and city make him an attractive player. He would help any playoff bound team.
On the other hand, Aaron Sanchez might have the higher ceiling. Where we know what Stroman can be, we’re still waiting for a full season of what Sanchez can do. His 2016 season showed us nice ERA of 3.00, but there has always been a sense that he could be even better. The problem is that he has missed almost a year with a blister and has struggled to return to himself on the mound. Add to that his recent return to the DL and his trade stock has to have decreased.
Basically, this (pretend, for fun) exploration comes down to would teams rather pay for a player who has been more consistent, but is possibly reaching the heights of his ceiling? Or, would they rather trade for a player who is a bigger risk to stay healthy, but has possibly more potential? Baseball has evolved to the point that mere rentals are less appealing, so guys with team control are important. Both of these starters have that, so teams will pay for that. So, in essence, the final decision comes down to other front offices and their risk/reward analysis.
Again, this whole thing is an interesting conversation in that it gets to a deeper decision making process for the Trade Deadline. If you’re the Blue Jays, you obviously listen on everyone. That doesn’t mean you are shopping anyone, of course. It also means that the club has to do its own risk/reward analysis to decide which of these two they would keep if it came down to it. If you’re 29 other teams, you must look at the Blue Jays’ roster and feel like you’ve entered shopping season before everyone else as the shelves are fully stocked.
Obviously, the Toronto Blue Jays would be better off in the long run by having both of these pitchers in their rotation. Just because we talk about this hypothetical situation, doesn’t mean it is anywhere close to becoming reality. BUT, for the fun of it, take our poll and take your pick. Which is a better trade chip? Stroman or Sanchez?
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Shaun Doyle is a long time Blue Jays fan and writer! He decided to put those things together and create Jays From the Couch. Shaun is the host of Jays From the Couch Radio, which is highly ranked in iTunes, and he has appeared on TV and radio spots.