You Make the Call- Blue Jays Trade Deadline Edition

As the MLB Trade Deadline approaches, every Blue Jays fan believes they hold the answers to their team’s roster riddles. Jays From the Couch is giving you the chance to put your trade values where your hearts are. We are presenting you with 3 trade scenarios to see if you would pull the trigger or hang up the phone.


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We know Blue Jays fans are inundated from all sides this time of year. Every analyst, every analytics site, every blog offers an endless supply of trade possibilities and players on the move-as they see them. Regardless of the sport, a trade deadline presents opportunities to debate with friends and on social media theoretical destinations for players rumored to be traded to or from their favorite teams. The Major League Baseball trade deadline on Tuesday, August 2nd offers the casual and fanatical an all-you-can-handle buffet of offerings. Some of the entrees are your personal favorites; some of the dishes you have heard about and have always wanted to try; other trade chips might look like or smell like buffalo chip, but just might prove to be an acquired tastes.

 

JFtC has and will continue to provide quality trade deadline coverage right up until the 6 p.m. deadline. Then Senior Editor  Shaun Doyle will host a real-time review of trade results on the Jays From the Couch Radio Podcast. But right now we want to challenge you to make some tough trade decisions in advance of the deadline.

 

The author devised these trade scenarios based on several factors:

  • The teams and players involved have been frequently mentioned as likely trade partners
  • No trade simulation was used (the author feels such tools as Baseball Trade Values should be banned by the Commisioner’s office like sticky stuff, spitballs, and gambling on baseball outside of established sponsored sites and games).                                                                                                                                                               
  •  While the trade candidates names are true, the scenarios have been changed to protect the ambivalent. All of these trades will not be completed at this deadline. So the prospect capital proposed will not be spent at this time.                                             

TRADE #1- Blue Jays acquire pitchers Pablo Lopez and  Steve Okert  from the Marlins for Jordan Groshans (#4 prospect), Rikelbin De Castro (#14 prospect), Yosver Zulueta (#18 prospect) and a PTBNL.

Pablo Lopez has been a revelation this season. A highly regarded stud within the stable of young Marlins pitchers, shoulder miseries have been a concern in the past. But Lopez has made more than 20 starts in 2022, sports a 3.03 earned run average (a full run lower than his career numbers), and boasts a dazzling strikeout rate (25.5%) and an even better groundball percentage (47.4%). Steve Okert was a fourth round draft pick by the Giants out of Oklahoma in 2012, has averaged more than a strikeout per inning in his 2 seasons in Miami, and possesses one of the most coveted tools a deadline piece can have-he throws left-handed.

Teams can not acquire an established front-line starter without paying a steep price. Jordan Groshans still appears to be a man in search of a position and profiles as a prototypical Marlins prospect: develop the bat, figure out what glove to issue him later. Rikelbin De Castro is perhaps the most intriguing prospect in the Blue Jays system. A speedy switch-hitting shortstop who many consider to be the best defensive shortstop in the system, De Castro is at least 3 years away and needs to harness a strong but erratic throwing arm. Yosver Zulueta is a Cuban defector who has pitched most of his innings at A ball (due in part to COVID pandemic and Tommy John surgery). His talent is undeniable and he has the makings of a late inning leverage reliever. The Marlins could accelerate his rise through the minors. Toss in a player to be named later from a list of non-40 man roster candidates and Lopez could slide into the #3 spot in the rotation and allow Ross Stripling or Yusei Kikuchi to transition to a bullpen role in advance of the playoffs.

YOU MAKE THE CALL- would you propose and make this trade for a front end starter and bullpen help?

 

TRADE #2- Blue Jays acquire switch hitting outfielder Ian Happ, righty reliever Mychal Givens and lefty reliever Tony Cingrani from the Cubs for Danny Jansen, Thomas Hatch, Bowden Francis (#15 prospect) and Samad Taylor (#16 prospect).

Ian Happ is beyond a doubt the most overlooked player available at the deadline. Happ has settled in as a dependable left fielder who has turned in respectable defensive efforts in center and right as well. In a pinch, Happ can also revert to his original positions on the infield. Most tempting of all is his ability to provide pop from both sides of the plate and uncanny ability to get on base and use his bat-to-ball skills to come through in a variety of situations. Most important to the Jays is his production from the left-side throughout his career. Givens has enhanced his trade value over the last 6 weeks and can be relied upon in bridge situations. Cingrani was a valued prospect in Cincinnati and the Dodgers traded then uber-prospect Scott Van Slyke for him. Like Givens, Cingrani would be a depth reliever and would provide John Schneider with a veteran lefty option to pair with Tim Mayza

The Cubs are going to trade their long-time catcher Willson Contreras and Cubs manager David Ross would love to add a catcher the caliber of Danny Jansen to manage a developing pitching staff. Jansen’s emerging power bat would play very well in the Friendly Confines. It would thrust All Star Alejandro Kirk and top prospect Gabriel Moreno center stage, but the future catching tandem should prove worthy of the confidence and opportunity. The Cubs drafted Thomas Hatch so are familiar with his abilities. The Cubs will need rotation place holders to eat innings while their youngsters develop in the minors. Bowden Francis is a big-bodied starter who could step into the Cubs rotation in September but may be blocked from that opportunity in Toronto. Samad Taylor would be the next in a line of IF-OF pieces like Alfonso Soriano and the type of high ceiling player Cubs GM Jed Hoyer covets.

YOU MAKE THE CALL- can you move a valuable piece at a premium position in Jansen to move up in the Wild Card standings. And deeper into the playoffs?

 

TRADE #3- The Blue Jays acquire Aaron Civale and Bobby Bradley from the Guardians for Miguel Hiraldo (#12 prospect), Chad Dallas (#22 prospect), Sebastian Espino (#25 prospect), Spencer Horwitz (#30 prospect) and Vinny Capra.

Earlier thus week the Guardians announced that they would entertain offers for their controllable starting pitchers. Shane Bieber may be controllable, but it is doubtful he was who GM Mike Chernoff had in mind. Speculation instead will be focused on Zach Plesac and Aaron Civale. While many scouts and executives believe Plesac has the higher ceiling, Civale has been the more consistent and projectable. A typical “cold weather” high school prospect who got overlooked in the draft. Civale blossomed with regular work at the professional level and while he will never develop into a Cy Young candidate, Civale can be penciled in as steady middle of the rotation arm. He led the AL in wins when he was placed on the IL with a middle finger sprain just before the 2021 trade deadline. He came back in September and finished with a 12-5 record, 3.84 ERA over 21 starts. Acquiring Civale will allow Stripling to slide back into a multi-inning bullpen role, where he will be more valuable come playoff time. NOTE: Civale is scheduled to come off IL August 8th. He suffered a minor wrist sprain July 14th. Bobby Bradley has never consistently cashed in on his prodigious power potential. But he would provide the threat of left handed power off the bench and give opposing managers cause for pause when looking to match up available bullpen options.

Cleveland has produced talented pitching prospects on par with Tampa Bay. But they often misfire with hitters. When Miguel Hiraldo was signed as an International Free Agent in 2019, he was considered the most advanced hitting prospect in that class. The hitting prowess has been flashed, but concerns about his glove and throwing arm remain. He has played 2B & 3B mostly with other shortstop prospects Orelvis Martinez and Leo Jiminez commanding regular reps and Guardians can even consider a shift to a corner outfield spot for Hiraldo. Chad Dallas was perhaps the steal of the 2021 draft, going in the 4th round after a stellar career at Tennessee. His smaller stature (5’11”) has many wondering if his calling is as a reliever (the position he was originally recruited as). But he has seen a 2 mph uptick in velocity each of the past 2 seasons and his mid 80’s cutter is often unhittable. Sebastian Espino found his power stroke after being claimed in the Minor League Rule 5 Draft while Spencer Horwitz could become what Bobby Bradley was supposed to be. We added Vince Capra because he is the type of utility player Cleveland always gets the most out of.

YOU MAKE THE CALL- is the steadying presence of Civale in the rotation down the stretch and in 2023 enough to convince you to move multiple prospects who have not yet hit their peak?

Not as easy as it appears on the Couch, huh?

 

 

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