This year has been disastrous for the Jays so far. Between injury issues, under performance, and an off-season reluctance to admit that this aging team actually had an opportunity to compete, Toronto has put themselves in a precarious position leading into this year’s non-waiver trade deadline.
The major issues I see with the trade deadline is they held onto assets much longer than their value dictated. J.A Happ’s peak value came in the early portion of June, Josh Donaldson would have fetched a large return in the off-season, and closer Roberto Osuna, who would have been a luxury piece on a team of quality, could have drawn a massive return prior to the season. All of these players had opportunities to be moved and now all have seen a massive reduction in potential return.
On the opposite side of this debate comes the relief unit. Oh, Axford, Clippard, and Tepera all would have had minimal value just 2 months ago, but after recent breakouts, each now present an interesting case for sizable return, comparatively of course. This Jays roster has to be looked at as a garage sale of sorts. There are literally no players on the roster that should be deemed untouchable.
If offers are available for nearly any player, the Jays should pull the trigger. On that note here, is a summary of the Blue Jays most appealing trade assets graded by likelihood for a trade to occur, and possible return.
Happ has had a major resurgence this season. His ERA at this point may not reflect that of a front end starter but his peripheral numbers are pretty outstanding. Posting a 3.84 FIP, 1.17 WHIP and 10.3 K/9 has made Happ a very valuable trade piece, despite his recent downturn. Had Toronto traded him a month ago the return would have been huge, at this point, look for the Braves, Phillies, Yankees, Pirates, and Mariners to potentially make a push, and hopefully a package including a top 100 prospect will be in the return.
Likelihood of a deal: 8/10 Quality of return: 7/10
Donaldson has had a worst case scenario season in a contract year. Injured most of the year and under-performing when healthy, he has done his “big payday” no favours whatsoever. He is currently on the DL and doesn’t appear to be overly close to a return. In hindsight Shapiro and Atkins must be kicking themselves for not shopping the injury prone slugger in the off-season.
Likelihood of a deal: 3/10 Quality of return: 6/10
We all know what has happened to Osuna this season. I’m not here to get into his off field issues, but clearly his value as the most dominant closer in history by his age has taken a large hit. He will return on Aug 4th, but the chances of a large return being had for Osuna, at this point, is slim.
Likelihood of a deal: 8/10 (by Aug 31) Quality of return: 5/10
The Rest of the Bullpen
Each of these pieces has performed well and built value from the very low expectations they had in April. With Oh and Tepera leading the way in terms of possible return, I fully expect the Jays to be aggressive in their attempts to shop the entire bullpen. No single piece should be off limits and, as we have seen in recent years, decent relievers can grab a reasonable return at the deadline. Contenders all across the board, especially in the NL, looking for bullpen depth have been scouting the team for the last several weeks and I expect to see at least 2-3 pen pieces dealt by July 31.
Likelihood of a deal: 9/10 Quality of return: 3.5/10
Granderson is an effective hitter against RHP, a steady defender, and amazing clubhouse presence. He will almost certainly be dealt and despite the smallish return that will come back, it will look like a phenomenal off season signing due to this return. This was what I had hoped would happen with Granderson. A simple signing of an aging vet that could potentially turn into another Minor league piece for the future. Phillies have shown interest, and I imagine Granderson is gone when it’s all said and done.
Likelihood of a deal: 9/10 Quality of return: 3/10
The other candidates
The less likely players to be dealt include Marcus Stroman, Justin Smoak, Marco Estrada, Russell Martin, Yangervis Solarte, Kendrys Morales, Kevin Pillar, and Devon Travis. Each of these is less likely for different reasons, whether it be contract, injuries, under-performance, or even a strange attachment the Jays have with the player. The only listed piece I would personally keep from the above is Devon Travis. His value is painfully low, and despite the awful start to his season he has actually rebounded beautifully and has hit nearly .300 with an .835 OPS over his last 30 games. Travis has more value to this team than he would to others. All others should have deals explored in my opinion.
Likelihood of a deal: 3/10 Quality of return: Varied
Look for the Jays to have a very busy deadline and, when it is all said and done, I would not be surprised to see 5-6 Jays playing for new teams down the stretch!
About Marc Nolan:
Marc Nolan is a Blogger, Public Speaker, and Entrepreneur originally from Campbell River, BC. Marc currently resides in Port Hope, ON with his Wife and two sons. He has always been involved in sports. A former College Baseball player, current coach and founder of the Northumberland Baseball Academy, Marc has invested his entire life to the game he loves. He has now been able to transition that passion into public speaking and journalism.
Despite the fact he has no formal training in the field, Marc has found ways to get exposure in the industry through hard work and dedication to what he loves. Currently, he operates a personal Blog (www.WestysWorld.com), writes for the LastWordOnBaseball. Hopefully, in the near future, will be starting his own personal Minor League Baseball Podcast. He is very active on Social Media. You can reach Marc with any questions, on Twitter, @MarcWestyNolan