Toronto Blue Jays: Teams that should put in a claim for Marco Estrada

TORONTO, ON - APRIL 20: Marco Estrada
TORONTO, ON - APRIL 20: Marco Estrada /

It was reported that the Toronto Blue Jays placed Marco Estrada on waivers Friday, it could be possible that a contending team puts in a claim for him providing the team a chance to get a prospect in return.

Just when it looked like Marco Estrada’s season was falling off the tracks, the 34-year old has made a drastic improvement in the month of August. In the past two months months Estrada has given up 12 home runs and surrendered 34 walks with an ERA of 7.80 over 52.2 innings. In the month of August it looks like he has turned the corner with an ERA of 1.93, 10 hits, five walks, and 13 strikeouts.

There was little to no interest in Estrada because of his struggles but luckily the Blue Jays were able to move Francisco Liriano and Joe Smith at the none-waiver trade deadline. Now they get another chance to get something in return for Estrada who is a pending free agent. The team also expressed their interest in bringing back the 10-year veteran. If he has a strong end of the season and potentially the postseason then he will be among the top free agents available.

If Estrada clears waivers it will put the Blue Jays in a good position to trade him to a team that either; has the assets they want or a team with injury trouble may be willing to pay up for Estrada if they are in a limited contending window. While the Blue Jays have been playing better and are four-and-a half games out of the Wild Card, the injury to Russell Martin and their lack of depth at pitching makes them an unlikely contender for the postseason. This is why there should be more pressure to move Estrada now and capitalize on any value he has left.

Steve Phillips mentioned the Seattle Mariners, the Houston Astros and the Kansas City Royals as the most logical destination for Estrada. Them along with a couple of other teams would really make sense as trading partners.

Seattle Mariners

With the latest injury to James Paxton, the Seattle Mariners are going to need a boost in the rotation if they expect to get in as a wild card team. The New York Yankees and Los Angeles Angels hold the two sports with the Angels holding a half a game lead on Minnesota and are one game up on the Mariners. They currently rank 20th in starters ERA (4.74) and are 28th in K/9 with 7.06.

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While Estrada is not a big strikeout pitcher he can be a stop gap while the Mariners deal with their injury issues. Felix Hernandez has been dealing with injuries throughout the season as well as Hishahi Iwakuma. As Jays Journal pointed out in their possible destinations for Estrada, Seattle would probably have a hard time getting by with a rotation that included Ariel Miranda, Yovani Gaallardo and Erasmo Ramirez. They also pointed out that Drew Smyly is out for the season due to Tommy John surgery so they seem like the most logical destination.

This is the list of the Mariners top 20 prospects, it would be tough to expect them to trade someone from their top-five to acquire Estrada but maybe something similar to what the Blue Jays received for Liriano. Teoscar Hernandez was the ninth ranked prospect in the Astros system. In that range the team could be looking at players like Christopher Torres, Thyago Vieira, Max Provse and Marco Gonzales.

Estrada has a 2-2 record at Safeco Field with a 4.09 ERA but with the Mariners having a top 10 offence in runs scored, that could be a recipe for success.

Kansas City Royals

The Blue Jays and the Royals were apparently in serious talks for either Liriano and Estrada. The latter would make the most sense for Kansas City just based on their ballpark alone. In his career at Kauffman stadium, Estrada has a 3.29 ERA and the stadium plays to a fly ball pitcher like Estrada. The window is slowly closing on the Royals as contenders. Their current rotation includes Jason Vargas, Danny Duffy, Jason Hammel, Ian Kennedy and Trevor Cahill.

Vargas and Duffy have shown that they can be a part of a postseason rotation but Hammel and Kennedy have been unable to keep up. Estrada would be a good fit as a number two starter and with the strong defence that the Royals play, he could be an important piece for their rotation.

Houston Astros

This was the third team of Phillps’ list and the one team that is not as desperate to make a deal. They have a stronghold of their division but they did not make any big splashes at the deadline which seems to have sparked some criticism from the players. Would trading for Estrada be enough to silence the critics? Dallas Keuchel‘s injury history is something the team will have to keep in mind even though Colin McHugh is returning to the rotation.

Estrada has a 3.90 ERA at Minute Maid Park, and with expectations rising for the Astros strong offence,they could decide that one more upgrade would necessary. Would the Blue Jays be able to squeeze another prospect out of Houston, maybe a pitching prospect?

Los Angeles Angels

Mike Trout has been waiting to get to the postseason since the Angels lost to the Royals in the 2014 ALDS. Right now LA holds the second Wild Card spot in the AL and have been on a roll recently but do they have enough to hold on? Their current rotation includes J.C. Ramirez, Jesse Chavez, Parker Bridwell, Ricky Nolasco but Matt Hoemaker and Alex Meyer are both on the DL. Estrada would likely become the ace of the Angels rotation which shows how much they need an upgrade.

A couple of teams to watch for potentially could be the Chicago Cubs and the St. Louis Cardinals who are battling for the NL Central division. If Estrada were to clear waivers, the Blue Jays may be able to take advantage of that situation should the opportunity arise.

Which team would make the most sense for Estrada to be dealt to? Should the Blue Jays keep him? Let us know in the comments below.