10 Toronto Blue Jays On The Trade Block
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.