The Toronto Blue Jays’ Trade Deadline will be anything but straightforward, but we can take comfort knowing they will improve the team
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As of this writing, the Toronto Blue Jays sit 9.5 games back of Boston in the AL East and 4 games back of Oakland, holders of the second wild card. Also between them and Oakland are Seattle and New York. Making the playoffs won’t be easy but it is doable.
Given the above, the Jays seem to be in some sort of limbo with regard to the trade deadline. They are much too good to be sellers, and maybe a bit too flawed to ‘go all in’. I am told that the Twitter universe if full of fans calling for the Jays to trade pending free agents Robbie Ray and Marcus Semien. I am here to tell you that a traditional sell off will not happen this year, or anytime soon.
The Blue Jays front office, and Jays President Mark Shapiro in particular, have repeatedly indicated that they are building a perennial playoff contender. Shapiro has said that this trade deadline is another opportunity to add talent to the major league team and there is no reason to believe the organization will not try to do just that.
Just what type of additions the Jays make is up for debate. Given their place in the standings there really is not a logical reason to trade top prospects for rental players – those types of moves should be reserved for World Series contenders, which this current Jays team is not. At a minimum look for the Jays to trade second or third tier prospects for additional bullpen help. This will help solidify the team’s weakest area and will have the greatest impact on their win loss record going forward.
The Jays will also explore opportunities to land controllable players that can help this year and beyond. The rotation is an obvious area to improve in this regard, but a true third basement who is a plus defender and threat with the bat is also needed. This path could also mean that the Jays depart with current members of the big league team, guys like Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Randal Grichuk could be replaced with better players. Or rotation pieces like Ross Striping and Steven Matz could be traded away if better replacements can be found. It is even possible that a quality pitcher such as Robbie Ray could be dealt, but only if such a trade leads directly to the acquisition of productive long term major league players.
Given that Shapiro and General Manager Ross Atkins have convinced the Jays owners at Rogers on their current plan of steadily building up to perennial playoff contention there is no way they pivot to selling off all star caliber pieces at this point of the plan. Ownership would immediately lose faith with the front office thus jeopardizing the finances required to build a sustainable wining organization.
Furthermore, the Blue Jays organization has sold the players on the same plan. The message a sell off of veteran leadership will have on the young Jays stars could be unrepairable. In addition, selling now would be in direct contrast to what they must have told Ryu and Springer before they signed with the team, thus making the signing of future free agents that much more difficult.
No, there will be no ‘sell off’ this year. At worst there will be marginal bullpen upgrades. At best there will be a shakeup that results in new players acquired which are upgrades to the current MLB roster. While we don’t know what the changes will be, we can rest assured that the Jays will be a better team on Saturday than they are today.
*Featured Image Courtesy Of DaveMe Images. Prints Available For Purchase.
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Jason C MacDonald has been a Blue Jays fan since the late 1980’s. His lifelong passion for Baseball and the Blue Jays has recently led him to start writing at JFtC. When not working at his day job or driving his two teenage sons to their sporting events Jason is usually reading, listening, watching or now writing about baseball.