After months of preaching patience, 100 games into the 2013 schedule, I am finally ready to admit that the season is a loss for the Toronto Blue Jays. This self-realization comes conveniently just under a week shy of the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.
The Blue Jays are still a very talented team, and given a few tweaks this offseason and a fresh start where maybe everything possible won’t go wrong, they could be contenders in 2014. With that in mind the Blue Jays should sell off some choice assets at this deadline to help reload for a 2014 run.
1) Sell High On Bullpen Arms
This could count as 4 trades. Casey Janssen, Brett Cecil, Steve Delabar, and Darren Oliver should all be shopped, and if possible dealt. Janssen, Cecil, and Delabar’s values are currently at an all-time high. If the Orioles were willing to give up a potential Top 200 prospect for 2 months of Francisco Rodriguez, what kind of farm system restocking coup could AA and the Blue Jays get for their quartet of bullpen arms?
How would this help the Blue Jays for next year you ask? With the emergence of Neil Wagner & Juan Perez, along with the return of Luis Perez, Kyle Drabek, and Drew Hutchison, there will be an abundance of arms available for the ‘pen.
As the emergence of Cecil and Delabar remind us, relievers are a fickle bunch, and good luck guessing when they’re going to be good. Take the prospect horde gathered from this trade bonanza and flip ‘em for something useful come the winter meetings.
Verdict: Trade ’em all if you can. Firstly Oliver, since he’s a goner at the end of the year. Second say see ya to Janssen and his “proven closer” status and the increased value that tag brings. Give us prospects!
2) Emilio Bonifacio to the NL
Emilio Bonifacio has never looked comfortable as a member of the Toronto Blue Jays. Well he’s looked comfortable in the dugout/interacting with teammates, but we’re talking baseball, and he just hasn’t seemed right in 2013. Bonifacio can be looked on as a jack of all trades but master of none. He plays all over the diamond on defense, but doesn’t play particularly well at any position.
He doesn’t hit for much power, or average, doesn’t walk much, nor does he know how to bunt. While I’m not painting the rosiest of pictures for potential suitors, Bonifacio’s greatest asset, his versatility, is just the kind of thing National League team’s desire on the end of their bench.
Verdict: I have no idea what kind of value Bonifacio would have on the trade market, but something is better than nothing. Heading into next season the Blue Jays can use that roster spot trying to find someone competent to back up Brett Lawrie in the event of his inevitable hustle related injury.
3) Mark DeRosa‘s Veteran Presents
Mark DeRosa is a winner. Except for when he’s not. In limited (but far too much) playing time this season Mark DeRosa has actually been kind of good. He has a triple slash of .233/.320/.444, good for a 106wRC+, that my friends is exactly the kind of line that can trick some GM of a quasi-contender *cough*Ned Colletti*cough* into over paying him to bolster the bench for the stretch run and playoffs, where I’m sure he’ll hit approximately 20 HRs and seal a World Series victory by doing something heroic, followed by saving a kitten from a burning building when his destination city starts into riots due to the pure ecstasy bestowed upon them by the VeteranPresents
Verdict: DeRosa’s somewhat effective bat and well known #VeteranPresents make him the perfect trade bait at the deadline. Would the Blue Jays get much for him? Probably not, but his Presents are currently being wasted in Hogtown so we might as well send him packing and get what we can.
4) Adam Lind
Adam Lind is having a renaissance season. His 130 wRC+ is by far his highest since he recorded a career high 140wRC+ in 2008. So why would I suggest that we trade the once again slugger? Because there’s just no way this can last. Lind has seemingly already begun his regression towards the mean, so he should be dealt, again to some GM of a quasi-contender.
Sure Lind might be able to contribute to the 2014 Jays, but if he regresses? He’s a first baseman/DH type that can’t hit where we already have Edwin Encarnacion to play our role of first baseman/DH. Going forward it would be nice to see a DH with a little more positional flexibility, that can maybe be relied upon to hit pitchers of both handiness.
Verdict: Send Lind packing. He has several team options which gives prospective suitors multiple years of control if they so desire, giving him slightly more value than a rental. Will the Blue Jays get much for him? Who really knows, but something is better than nothing, and another piece in the cupboard that can be used to truly upgrade this offseason works just for me.
5) Don’t Trade Josh Johnson
Many, including my good friends over at Jays Journal have called for Josh Johnson to be traded at the deadline, not matter what the return is. I am here to respectfully disagree. I know that this was supposed to be “5 trades” but since it’s my rules, I’m saying this counts. If I’m the Toronto Blue Jays trading Josh Johnson makes just about the least amount of sense to me. With his contract expiring at the end of the season, and his numbers giving me the same feeling as when I accidently drank that long expired carton of milk, his value is essentially nil.
But here’s the thing, Johnson appears to still have his “stuff”. He’s still throwing the baseball 94+MPH, he’s still got a nasty slider, and a curveball that’s a work in progress. In short, he still has all of those tools required to be an effective big league starter. When the season ends, the Blue Jays will (they better) extend him a qualifying offer. If he accepts? The Blue Jays get Josh Johnson once again in a contract year, essentially pitching for his career. If he rejects it and signs with another team? The Blue Jays get a compensation pick which holds far more value than any return they will get on the trade market.
Verdict: Don’t pack your bags Josh, you’re going to be here for a (little) while.
Any possible trade candidates that I didn’t mention that you think will be dealt? Who do you think is most likely to be dealt? Let us know in the comments section or Tweet us at @tipofthetower