With the MLB trade deadline fast approaching, the question is, would that be the last time we see Stroman and/or Giles in a Blue Jays uniform?
The single MLB trade deadline of 2019 is just over two weeks away. As usual there have been no shortage of rumours. Who is buying? Who is selling? Some teams are on the fence. Some might stand pat with what they have.
There is no debating the Blue Jays position this July. They will be sellers. They have a number of players whose team control ends in 2019 or 2020. Many of them will likely be wearing other uniforms come August 1st (or maybe before that).
For the Jays, the two trade chips that are expected to yield the best return are all star starter Marcus Stroman and closer Ken Giles. Unlike J Happ in 2018 who some could argue was only an all star because every team had to be represented, Stroman is a legitimate all star in 2019. Giles could easily have been his teammate at the mid summer classic.
Both are under team control through the end of 2020.
Jays fans are preparing to say goodbye to a couple of good ones.
Or will it be goodbye?
Maybe it could just be so long for now instead?
Barring any contract extension, both pitchers are eligible for free agency following the 2020 season. Who is to say that one, or maybe both, won’t re-sign with Toronto as free agents?
Baseball fans will remember the Yankees trading Aroldis Chapman to the Chicago Cubs during the 2016 season. It was a 4 for 1 deal that saw infield prospect Gleyber Torres, pitcher Adam Warren, and outfield prospects Rashad Crawford and Billy McKinney (since traded to the Jays) go to the Yankees.
The Cubs reaped the immediate benefits of the trade. Chapman anchored the bullpen for the Cubs who won the 2016 World Series. Then Chapman re-signed with the Yankees as a free agent that off season.
The best trades are ones that both teams win.
In fact, it wouldn’t be the first time that the Jays signed a free agent who they had previously traded away. In the off season after 2014, the Anthopoulos led Jays traded J Happ for Michael Saunders. A year later, following the Jays playoff run in 2015, Shapiro and Atkins brought Happ back to the Jays on a three year contract.
So what would need to happen for either or both to re-sign with the Jays as free agents after the 2020 season?
Well, like any other deal, three things need to happen. The team has to want to sign the player, the player has to want to sign with that team, and then they have to come to terms.
Would the Jays want to bring them back?
The answer to this depends in large part on whether they are still effective MLB pitchers. If not, then all of this becomes a moot point. We won’t know until closer to free agent season 2020.
Where Stroman is concerned, at least, there are those who don’t view his personality as a positive. He is outspoken. He isn’t shy about voicing his opinions, whether anyone else likes what he has to say or not. Some have speculated that Blue Jays management perceive his personality as a negative and that they would prefer to move on from him.
The truth is, for those of us who aren’t part of Jays management, we can only speculate about this.
Would either or both be interested in coming back?
Only they can answer that question. But let’s look at some of the things that often motivate free agents. Money? A chance to play on a competitive team? A good fit with the organization? Being close to their off season home?
In terms of payroll, the Jays currently have two players under contract beyond 2020. In 2021 they are committed to paying roughly $14.3 million to Randal Grichuk and Lourdes Gurriel jr. There will be money to spend.
The hope, the plan is that the Jays, through their rebuilding efforts, will become competitive again around 2021 and beyond. In theory this should fit well with free agents in 2020.
Both pitchers have previously commented that they have enjoyed playing for the Jays and being in the city of Toronto. Of course, that could change if egos are bruised by being traded away or the way any trades are consummated. Again we can only speculate at this point.
Being close to an off season home, unfortunately this is one area where the Blue Jays rarely compete with other markets. The Jays need to hope that they will be on the verge of being competitive again, and that this will be enough of a draw for prized free agents.
Assuming there is interest on both sides, would they be able to come to terms? See the point above regarding having money available to spend. It would simply be a question of arriving at money and term that both sides could live with.
Admittedly there are a lot of ifs when thinking about either Stroman or Giles returning to the Blue Jays one day, assuming they will soon be traded. But until the possibility is completely off the table, we can at least allow ourselves to dream.
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