The Runner Sports

Toronto Blue Jays Have To Prepare To Sell At Trade Deadline

The Toronto Blue Jays surely didn’t have the idea of being sellers at the trade deadline this season, but their unimaginable nightmare may soon be a reality.

Despite a convincing victory over the Chicago White Sox on Sunday, the Jays still lost two out of three to a lackluster opponent. They’re just 7-8 in June after launching themselves back into the playoff race with a 17-10 record in May.

Unfortunately for Toronto, the AL wild card race is going to be a dog fight this season. The Minnesota Twins, Baltimore Orioles, Tampa Bay Rays, Texas Rangers, Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, and Seattle Mariners are all in contention for the second wild card spot.

The Blue Jays just haven’t been getting any consistency from their usual-dominant rotation, and the bats have easily been one of the most worst in the majors this season.

For what it’s worth, general manager Ross Atkins pledged that the Blue Jays are “focused on adding” at the July 31st trade deadline. However, if Toronto isn’t in a great position to snatch a wild card berth, then Atkins will have to go back against his word.

Toronto has more trade chips than most clubs right now. Marco Estrada (who’s slated to hit the open market in the winter), could easily haul in some great prospects — even if he’s a rental. The Chicago Cubs were willing to give away elite prospect Gleyber Torres to the New York Yankees for Aroldis Chapman (a rental player), at last year’s trade deadline.

Jose Bautista could also be on the move. A household name with a knack for big homers, he’d be a huge addition for any playoff-bound team. Toronto could add a quality roster player (or even more prospects) if they trade away their long-time franchise slugger.

The Toronto Blue Jays two best hitters in 2017 — Josh Donaldson and Justin Smoak — each have a year remaining on their contracts. If Toronto prefers not to extend either guy long-term, then the time to trade them would be at the deadline. Teams will easily give up more for both guys if they’re not rentals in 2018.

This team doesn’t have to worry about a full-scale rebuild. Young pitching phenoms Marcus Stroman, Joe Biagini, Aaron Sanchez, and Roberto Osuna ensure that this team will remain competitive for a few years. Russell Martin, Troy Tulowitzki, and Kendrys Morales aren’t going anywhere. There’s always the chance to add quality free agents this offseason, should the Jays be able to shed significant payroll at the deadline.

The Blue Jays needed to trade for David Price in 2015 to make the playoffs. They were simply a better team in 2016 and didn’t need to add an impact player at the deadline. However, in 2017, there aren’t any star rental players they’re going to trade for. Nobody of Price’s caliber will likely be available — and Toronto doesn’t have the depth in their farm system to make a big trade.

There is time for the Toronto Blue Jays to get hot and re-enter the tight playoff race in the American League. Unfortunately, if the front office isn’t confident in where the team stands in July, then they’ll have to sell and start building for the future.

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Alex Hoegler

I'm a graduate of the journalism program at Langara College in Vancouver, B.C.

I've been an avid sports fan since I was seven years of age. A lifelong follower of the Vancouver Canucks and Toronto Blue Jays, my passion is to deliver news through writings while building bridges with other sports fans.
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