10 Toronto Blue Jays On The Trade Block

by Clayton Richer | Posted on Monday, July 22nd, 2013
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Lawrie & Arencibia

The trade deadline is fast approaching with tough questions needing answers north of the border in regards to the under-achieving Toronto Blue Jays. The 2013 season has been a miserable display of baseball with the exception of an 11-game stint before the break.

Mark Buehrle and R.A. Dickey have recently gone public saying the team may have been overrated, the Jays failed to sign their 1st round pick again in a year when the farm system much needed a boost. The Jays drafted a tough sign in Phil Bickford rather than playing it safe with a more controllable, easier sign. Catcher J.P. Arencibia recently called out former players turned analysts Gregg Zaun and Dirk Hayhurst with a rumour now that Arencibia has even approached President Paul Beeston about the two and their critiques of his play.

So now the decision needs to be made if this core of players has the inner fortitude to bring a winner back to Canada. The Jays have a core of about 6 players that are definite keepers and then another handful that are on the bubble. The likes of Jose Reyes, Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion will be the foundation moving forward but it is the Brett Lawrie and J.P. Arencibia‘s of the world that may benefit from a change of scenery.

1. Brett Lawrie– in one season has gone from the Canadian who could do no wrong to a cocky kid that can barely hit his own weight. Lawrie has struggled all season with injuries and the bat. It is unknown where the Jays patience with Lawrie looms however if they dealt him now the return would not nearly be as fruitful as in seasons past. I think a deal involving Lawrie is a long-shot but Anthopoulos has done crazier things.

2. Josh Johnson– has been a huge disappointment this season and is slated for free agency in the off-season. The Jays could deal Johnson before the deadline but it would have to be something substantial as they are in line for a draft pick should Johnson turn down their qualifying offer. Johnson could also accept the Jays offer and boost his stock next season before hitting the open market.

3. Darren Oliver– could provide a bullpen boost to a contender looking for a lefty arm for the playoff push. Oliver is set to retire next season and would welcome one final chance at a championship especially if the Texas Rangers come calling. Oliver will not be a Toronto Blue Jay after the deadline.

4. Adam Lind– If I were Alex Anthopoulos, I would be doing my best used car salesman pitch in an attempt to dump Lind while he has some decent value. Lind has been a pleasant surprise this season and has a batting average hovering around .300 which could appeal to teams. If they Jays were smart they would try and package Lind and worry about the designated hitter position in the off-season. They have Mauro Gomez in Triple A who has 26 bombs and may fit the stereo-typical DH role better than Lind.

5. Rajai Davis– has been one of the most consistent Blue Jays this season in a part time role. Davis is hitting a healthy .287 with 25 stolen bases in only 185 plate appearances. Davis is a weapon off the bench and could appeal especially to a National League team. I like Davis off the bench but would consider moving him if the return was something significant.

6. Brett Cecil– has been an enigma this season rejuvenating his career with a vengeance. His stock will never be higher after an All-Star Team birth and is a sell-high candidate. Bullpen arms are a dime a dozen and I would capitalize on the season Cecil has had before he comes crashing back down to earth.

7. Mark Buehrle– could provide a playoff contender with a veteran arm however I would think his remaining contract would scare off any potential suitors. Buehrle has recently spoken publicly about the Jays being overrated and would probably prefer to play in the United States where he can be reunited with his banned pitbull.

8. J.P. Arencibia– this is a tough one as the Jays traded Travis d’Arnaud in order to acquire R.A. Dickey. The fans seems to have a love/hate relationship with the backstop as he has been heavily scrutinized this season due to a .253 OBP and 100 strikeouts in 332 plate appearances. J.P. has connected for 17 home runs but the jury still is out if this is our catcher moving forward.

9. Anthony Gose– could be part of a package for a team looking to solidify their centre-field position for the future. Gose has had a down year in Triple A and has grown out of favour with his Triple A Manager for lack of hustle at times. Kevin Pillar seems to have surpassed Gose as the next outfield call-up in the pecking order. Colby Rasmus has had a solid season producing an .808 ops and dialling long distance 16 times. Gose could benefit from a change of scenery if the Jays are so inclined.

10. Emilio Bonifacio– is another sell-low candidate after a very disappointing first half as a Blue Jay. Many thought Bonifacio was the sleeper in the mega trade but just hasn’t gotten comfortable offensively or defensively as a Blue Jay. Bonifacio is out of options and seems better suited for a reserve role having hit barely above the Mendoza line all season.

Time will tell how much the Blue Jays dismantle their current cast of players but there is no doubt the lineup needs to tweaking with a glaring need for starting pitching and an everyday second baseman. If nothing else these 10 names should create some discussion amongst Jays fans.

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Clayton Richer
About the Author

Clayton Richer is an MLB scribe from north of the border with a slight bias for the Toronto Blue Jays. Clayton has also been the shop-keeper at Baseball Hot Corner since the sites inception in 2012. Follow and interact with Clayton on Twitter @MLBHotCorner or @ClaytonRicher

  • GeorgeBellRules

    You do have to wonder how AA attacks this deadline; he went “all in” for a contender – I think it’s impossible to about face and strip it all down, as it amounts to confessing failure (even if it is a colossal fail). Who could’ve known? I am guessing AA deals Oliver; maybe Lind; I am fine with dealing Buerhle or preferably Johnson (if there’s a suitor). And of course, if anyone wanted Arencibia – gone! They need a stable catcher. I’d settle for Thole (never thought I’d say that…)

    I think one guy that should make this list is not Cecil, but Janssen. Love the guy, but his value is through the roof; due for a raise; and they have McGowan & Delabar in the wings to close, even Santos, haha.

    I would love, absolutely to see Drabek, Hutchison, Jenkins, Stroman & Romero fight for rotation spots for next year, come September.

  • Gerry MacCarthy

    I hate to say I told you so but in March I voiced my doubts about this team. Too many vets past their prime, guys who deep down didn’t want to come here, and possibly (and I shouldn’t say this) but maybe too many hispanic players for a Canadian market. This is not a racist comment I just wonder if they really enjoy being in another country away from areas they are more comfortable in.
    I would prefer to watch a young, hustling team then one where several are approaching the end of their careers.

  • Brian

    I believe this team is way over rated with a few players with big egos. They don’t seem to be into the game wanting to win. They don’t seem to be motivated. Of course who wants to play for Gibbins. This guy has no emotions in that stiff body of his. Why the hell did they ever bring this fool back in the first place. Bad move on the GM’s part I think. All these Toronto teams seem to be the same in professional sports. Sad sad for the fans who really want to have a competitive team to cheer on.

  • Jon

    The majority of observers – I think out of politeness, fail to acknowledge that the Blue Jay’s failures are rooted in the organization’s senior management. Ineptitude at that level has undoubtedly trickled down through the organization. It starts with Beeston whose glory days should now be confined solely to the history books and his protege AA, who enjoys a position way beyond his ability. AA talks a good game but as they say, and in this case BS baffles brains.
    This management suffered Ricciardi for years before it was finally decided he was not up to the job. So what did they try next – a fast talking stats guru who lacks savvy baseball judgement. Do we have to wait five years before reality sets in?? Spending so much off season money on players in their twilight years then hiring a manager whose (management) career to date is at best mediocre – forgive my generosity, does not inspire one to trust the judgement of those in charge. Any loose talk of off-season play either now or in the foreseeable future is either self deception or pure smoke and mirrors.
    Undeniably some players are to blame for not performing to expectations. However, team preparation is as important as actually playing the game. That is where Gibbons and his merry men are failing the team. Too many on the team are overly prone to errors, inconsistent in their on-field performance and act like a bunch of kids in the dugout (especially) when things do not go their way; not the profile of a team that is well prepared or well managed. Only a few mature players on the team appear to be attuned to the professional standards required at that level of the game. So where does that leave us? Same old, same old this year and the next and the next…… Seems to be a Toronto sports thing.
    Notwithstanding, one has got to admire the high tolerance level of Blue Jays fans. They show a generous spirit game after game through their attendance and also the way they cheer the team on, no matter what! Maybe a few boos once in a while might help ignite a flame of hope throughout the organization. There I go again – I should really try to manage my expectations.

  • Macht

    Little chance of Lawrie or Gose being traded. You don’t trade high-upside young players having a down year. Makes no sense.

    Like one of the above posters, I think Janssen should be moved now while his value is very high. He could score a huge return, and Jays have plenty of arms that could conceivably take over at closer.

    The dude talking about Hispanic players is clueless. Bautista and Encarnacion chose to sign extensions to stay in Toronto, Cabrera chose to sign here as a free agent, and Reyes has shown no indication he isn’t playing with passion or isn’t fine with being on this team. But let’s blame the Hispanics and try to claim they don’t really like it here as the reason the team has underperformed. The Hispanic players are the least of the team’s concerns, and aren’t the reason the team hasn’t played well enough.

  • Howie

    Gibbons is stuck here for another 3 years, is he unmotivated at times? Yeah, he is. But the lack of production is all on the players, not their manager. They haven’t played chemistry baseball like the glory days team did. Players like Bonafacio, Johnson, Dickey, Buehrle even have not shown up all year. It’s like they don’t want to be here or don’t belong. I truly think they’re the ones that need to be dealt but unfortunately they’re all low valued right now. I’d say trade them for what they can get, promote the rookies who deserve Major League spots right now, such as maybe Romero, Jenkins, Stroman, even Gose I’d give a full job too at the moment. Maybe deal Rasmus or Davis while they’re hot.
    No reason at all that JPA should be dealt, he has 17 homers. Sure he strikes out a lot but he’s still young and needs maturing. To be honest him and Lawrie if they can get consistent could be the future of this ball club. As for the bullpen, there’s so many guys we have it doesn’t really matter who stays or goes. Janssen could stay, same with Cecil, Delabar, I’d deal Oliver though to the Rangers for next to nothing. He definitely doesn’t want to be here. McGowan looks good in what looked to be retirement, same with Loup and Wagner.
    There’s not a lot of options, maybe you keep what you have and work on the little things, or deal the guys who make errors, pitch poorly and don’t want to be there. Even deal Lind while his value is above average. This is still a 5 year window for a winning team, so anything could change next season/seasons to come.

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