The Blue Jays find themselves with plenty of outfielders, so JFtC wonders who should be dealt, Grichuk or Dickerson
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The Toronto Blue Jays find themselves heading into the July 31st Trade Deadline with a well stocked farm system and too many outfielders at the big league level, so if they’re going to address their need for pitching, they may need to consider dealing either Randal Grichuk or Corey Dickerson.
In the interest of full disclosure, I began this piece thinking Grichuk was the obvious answer to be dealt this summer. I’m not so sure now. So, what follows is an attempt to figure out which one of these guys should/could/would be traded. We know that George Springer isn’t going anywhere, Teoscar Hernandez isn’t either, not with him breaking out and earning an All Star selection. JFtC’s Karen Soutar already wrote that Lourdes Gurriel Jr.should not be an option and I tend to agree. Jonathan Davis likely isn’t considered an everyday big league outfielder, so that leaves us with two: Grichuk & Dickerson.
The Blue Jays traded for Adam Cimber and took on Dickerson’s salary to keep the prospect cost lower. Now, they have an outfielder who is in a walking boot and likely to return until the later days of July. So, any team taking him on would have little time to see how healthy he is. That could keep the return down. He is also a rental as he’s a free agent this offseason. Keeping him would allow Toronto to spend some time with him and maybe make a decision about next year a la Robbie Ray. For these reasons alone, Dickerson may be the one to keep.
After all, Dickerson represents a lefty bat with some power. He’s hit at least 24 home runs in three separate seasons and has a career OPS of .816. He is an excellent defender to boot. He has good career numbers against right handed pitching: .847 OPS, .357 wOBA, 122 wRC+ and a K% that is nearly 6% lower than against righties. He seems to offer something the Blue Jays had hoped Rowdy Tellez would. And, if they’re serious about the playoffs this year – and advancing – they need to think about that lefty presence.
If we assume, just for the moment, that the Blue Jays should keep Dickerson. That makes Grichuk the next player up. After a hot start to the 2021 season, Grichuk has cooled off and now sports a .747, 14 HR, 54 RBI through 80 games. It’s tough to consider dealing a guy who is good for 25+ homers a year, but that package also comes with a rather low on base number: .291 this season and a career mark of .294, so there isn’t much hope for that to be monumentally better as the season progresses.
Grichuk’s contract status is also something to consider. He’s set to make $10.3M in 2022 and 2023. So, if a team is to take him on, they may wish to get some salary relief, if they even consider taking him on at all. For the Blue Jays’ part, they have to ask themselves if they want to deal Grichuk to ,and some pitching, roll with Dickerson for a playoff run and then figure out their outfield situation in the offseason. If they see Dickerson as someone they want to get a look at to make an offer in the offseason, trading Grichuk might make sense.
In case you were wondering, the right field off season class is not exactly deep. After a 36 year old Charlie Blackmon and an equally old Dexter Fowler, there’s Nick Castellanos, Michael Conforto and Avisail Garcia. The list drops off after that. If you’re the Blue Jays, do you really spend big money on one of these options, or do you look to the starting pitching/bullpen market, which includes Ray, Steven Matz, Noah Syndergaard and aging aces like Max Scherzer, Clayton Kershaw and Zack Greinke? Who they deal at the deadline may go a long way to answering this.
Really, this particular part of the July Trade Deadline conversation may come down to how badly the Blue Jays want to compete THIS YEAR. If they like their chances at the end of July, and want to “go for it” this year, they may decide to keep Dickerson, since he gives them a more balanced lineup. At some point, a ‘winning’ team has to make moves to go for it, no?
That said, the Blue Jays’ front office is not known for being short sighted with their roster, which would be the lens through which they keep Dickerson over Grichuk. Are they likely to give up the cost certainty of two more years of Grichuk in favour of a few months of Dickerson and a shot at MAYBE signing him in the offseason?
My gut wants them to. But, my gut also says that the team control and production that Grichuk provides is too high a price for Ross Atkins & Co…unless the return is too good to turn down. Randal Grichuk, especially by himself doesn’t get you such a return. So, it seems that he is likely to stay in Toronto. Dickerson may be as well. The club could very well deal Gurriel Jr.
This is what makes this time of year so much fun. We can only think along with the front office and make educated guesses. And, even if we do, the front office is likely many, many steps ahead of us. However, where’s the fun in just waiting? It’s much more fun to try our proverbial crystal balls. So, who would you deal? Who would you keep?
*Featured Image Courtesy Of DaveMe Images. Prints Available For Purchase.
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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.