Beers on the Couch: Blue Jays Untouchables

 

Jays From the Couch presents Beers on the Couch, a continuing series of behind the scenes chats. This time, who are the Blue Jays’ untouchables?

 

 

 

 

After a successful debut of Beers on the Couch, we decided to keep the series going. The aim is to provide readers with a discussion not unlike that of friends sitting around, having a drink and chatting about their favourite team.

 

This time, we answer the following question: Who is Untouchable for the Toronto Blue Jays?

 

 

Jeff Q: The idea of a no-trade list is interesting, in terms of what qualities would make someone worth putting on the list. For me, it’s about feeling that it was unlikely the Jays would get full value in return for that player. Vladimir Guerrero Jr is on the list because it’s hard to think of a fair one for one trade out there with him. On the other end, I think a guy like Tim Mayza might be on my list because I think he might end up being a very good lefty reliever, but he also seems like a guy who’d be undervalued around the league, given his very low profile so far.

 

Doyle: In the context of 2019, I have to think no one on the big league roster makes the list. If anyone has value, they can be turned into younger, more controllable value. Looking beyond the big league roster, obviously Vlad Jr is on the list. But, I’d have to out Nate Pearson on it as well. Pitching is too valuable, especially with that potential.

 

Ryan A: If anyone doesn’t have Vlad Jr. on their list, they need to re-evaluate their priorities

 

Doyle: That’s the easy answer, though. Sure, it’s true, but is there really anyone else joining him on that list?

 

Ryan A: I think there are at this point. Also, I think there are untouchables on the big league roster…at least now that some of the kids are starting to make it up. For example, I wouldn’t be trading Danny Jansen anytime soon, if only for the promise of long-term stability at a position that demands a consistent hand. Depending on how much he takes away from Russell Martin, Jansen could be the cornerstone of the defense for the next five years.

 

Catherine S: I agree, Jansen would be on my no trade, as would Bo Bichette

 

Doyle: I’d probably agree, Cath. The adage of being strong up the middle applies here. Valuable catching and middle infielders don’t just grow on trees. That said, if the return is right, would they still be on your no trade list? That would depend on what the return would look like, of course. But, it is hard to envision a return worth removing Jansen or Bichette. That is especially true in the context of 2019. If this were a different season and the Blue Jays needed a superstar (see Josh Donaldson) to put them over the top, my no trade list looks a lot smaller.

 

Catherine S: Yes, different circumstances would elicit different trade options, but as it stands…

 

Ryan A: Even then, you look at the Paul Goldschmidt trade and think you don’t have to give up much for a superstar. Kelly and Weaver were expendable pieces, so by stocking up as they have, the Blue Jays could do the same when they are ready to contend. So even then, I hold Jansen, I hold Bichette, I hold Nate Pearson and I hold T.J. Zeuch as well.

 

Catherine S: What about Cavan Biggio?

 

Ryan A: Biggio is probably the top prospect I would dangle in a trade for a upper-rotation pitcher.

 

Doyle: Biggio is interesting because he may have outperformed last season. He has value right now, but if that is his new norm, you have to consider putting him on the list. That said, if he (and other pieces) can get you a controllable starter, I’d certainly dangle him. And that would be the only reason this front office does so.

 

Catherine S: Is there anyone on the no trade list in the outfield?

 

Doyle: As much as I love Anthony Alford, my answer is no.

 

Catherine S: Interesting… the hierarchy of positions becomes obvious.

 

Doyle: I think that is a fair statement. There is definitely a hierarchy.

 

Ryan A: The outfield might actually need to be thinned. If you say Randal Grichuk and Billy McKinney are locks for slots, and Kevin Pillar is still a fixture in center, Alford needs to replace him to have an everyday job, and then Teoscar Hernandez has to play somewhere because there is a Kendrys Morales -sized block on the DH slot that should rightfully be his. Dwight Smith Jr. deserves more MLB time as well. If we are solely restricting this to the 40-man roster though, I think my list is Jansen, Ryan Borucki, Sean Reid Foley and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. Gurriel should be locked in at this point. And I’m not even sure about the starters.

 

Doyle: Yeah, I’m not sure the club sees anyone on the 40 man roster is on the ‘untouchable’ list. I agree with your choices, but even then, I’d consider SRF easily.

 

Ryan A: That’s some Seattle-level thinking there.

 

Srikant K: I’d trade anyone except Vlad in the right deal but considering what the team is trying to do, it doesn’t make sense to move Bichette either (60 FV, only 20, looks like he can stick at SS). With the other top prospects it depends on the return. For example I wouldn’t want to trade Jansen but if a 2018 Christian Yelich situation presents itself, then I wouldn’t hesitate. That’s obviously rare though.

 

Ryan M: Vlad, Bichette, and Pearson make up my list. Everyone else fair game. On the subject of Jansen, if the return improves the rotation and/or the outfield that deal should be made.

 

Doyle: Let’s say Jansen is traded for said depth, is there a replacement for him that we feel as confident in? I would suggest not. No one is as close to being an everyday catcher…and that includes Russell Martin. So, to me, that puts him in the no trade list.

 

Ryan A: Yeah no offense but I’m not thrilled with a Luke Maile/ Reese McGuire tandem moving forward. Little to no offense there comparatively. I know teams don’t value offense as much from behind the plate but I still prefer having Jansen there as an all-around plus. That’s why he is untouchable for me.

 

Ryan M: That’s fair. I think McGuire is undervalued. He is good behind the plate and will hit enough to be an everyday catcher. I also really like Riley Adams, who I think will move quickly.

 

Roy Z: Yeah. No Jansen move until Riley Adams is ready…which is at least 2021+.

 

Jeff Q: Jansen, Bichette and Pearson are all good adds to the list.

 

Ryan A: I guess the big takeaway is like it appears. Anyone not under control after 2020 is definitely not on that list.

 

Srikant K: This question will be more interesting in two years when the team wants to contend. Right now the big league team is transitioning and the farm system is close to taking over. Once we see an actual good core on the 25 roster and need to supplement it from outside the organization, then suddenly trade chips become so much more important. Right now seems pretty simple; trade anyone who is not a core piece post 2020 and keep as many prospects as possible. That will change soon enough.

 

 

 

 

 

 


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Shaun Doyle

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.