The Runner Sports

Toronto Blue Jays Need To Trade For Sonny Gray

The Toronto Blue Jays continue to weigh their options as the July 31 trade deadline nears. Though it’s evident this team should be sellers, team president Mark Shapiro isn’t keen on trading away any of this team’s core players — which suggests they could be buyers at the deadline.

As everyone knows, 2017 hasn’t been kind to the Blue Jays –who had aspirations of making the playoffs for a third consecutive season. They’re last in the American League East, because of their woeful bats and because their rotation has been mediocre at best.

Yet, Shapiro did hint that the Jays may look to improve the team at the deadline, but noted, “it’s highly unlikely it would be rental-type guys.”

Translation: The Jays will be looking to trade for guys who are under team control beyond this season. That’s where Oakland Athletics’ starting pitcher Sonny Gray enters the picture.

Starters Marco Estrada and Francisco Liriano are struggling in 2017, and both are slated to hit free agency. Don’t expect either to be back in 2018, which means the Jays will have to fill out two open spots in their rotation.

The Jays seem to have an interest in Gray, as team scouts did take a look at him back in June. Gray carries a bargain $3.575 million salary for 2017, and is under team control through 2019. A rotation of Gray, Aaron Sanchez, Marcus Stroman, and J.A. Happ would be one of baseball’s best in 2018.

How much would the Jays have to give up? As long as it isn’t elite prospects like Vladimir Guerrero Jr. or Bo Bichette (The A’s asking price shouldn’t be that high), then general manager Ross Atkins needs to do whatever it takes to land Gray.

The 5-foot-10 right-hander is 5-4 this season with a 3.72 ERA, and he has 79 strikeouts in 84.2 innings pitched. Gray is just two years removed from a 14-win season that saw him post a remarkable 2.73 ERA.

If Shapiro and Atkins want to build a contender for 2018, then Gray should be among their top targets. The Jays’ elite rotation single-handedly carried them to the 2016 ALCS. Having four quality starters would put them right back in postseason contention.

So if the price is right, the Blue Jays need to make a move on Sonny Gray. He’s good, he’s cheap, and he wouldn’t force them to break the farm system. Seems like a worthy trade candidate to me.

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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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