Pundits around baseball think Johnson should get traded at the deadline. Is it possible? Mandatory Credit: Tom Szczerbowski-USA TODAY Sports

Trade Deadline: Buy or Sell Time for Toronto

So this is where the Toronto Blue Jays are at: sitting at 45-53, last in the AL East, 11 games out of the Wild Card race, and the trade deadline looms a little more then a week away.  The question I pose to you, the fan is this: Are the Toronto Blue Jays buyers or sellers?

It’s a compelling question because for the following reasons:

1.) Stranger things have happened in baseball (see 2011 Boston Red Sox September collapse.  Also see 2011 Atlanta Braves September collapse.)

2.) Due to this, the Blue Jays aren’t “officially” out of the playoffs… though it sure does look grim.

Despite things looking grim, the Jays continue to tease us fans with glimmers of hope like an 11 game winning streak with arguably not their best group of players on the field.  At the same, now the Jays have their best players on the field and are losers of 5 straight.

If the Jays are buyers, who exactly do they buy and with what?  Toronto lacks serious immediate prospects besides maybe Marcus Stroman to make an impact trade.  It’s more likely Toronto would have to deal from an area strength, which is their bullpen, to get back something of a need.

It’s debatable as to what exactly the bigger need is.  Personally, I have always felt a team wins more with a great defense than offense and the offense has shown to be more consistent (READ AS More consistent than Jays’ starting pitching… that doesn’t make Jays’ hitters consistent.)  So I would try to make a move for a solid starting arm.  The problem with that is the Jays probably won’t get a good starting arm for bullpen pitchers.  Typically, teams only make moves for bullpen pitchers if it’s an area of need and the Jays trading partner is in the playoff race.  If a team is in the playoff race, you can bet it has to do with good solid pitching of which they’re not willing to part.  So, expect prospects or a decent bat for a more than solid reliever such as Casey Janssen.  This doesn’t solve the problem however.  The Jays are just good enough to be buyers, which keeps us fans just clinging to the hope that maybe they will be.

Given the state of the team currently, Toronto is either more likely to be a seller or just stay neutral and go “ride or die” for the rest of the season.  Going into sell mode signals to the fan base that it’s over.  I don’t know about you, but I’ll still watch the games, though deep down, I don’t really want to.  If or when they sell, the front office may also be showing another shift in organizational philosophy, which generally means heads will roll.  So if the Jays sell, fans may get their #FireGibby wish.  Other fans should get their #ScrewAAIllDrinkToThat wish and so may start yet another rebuilding period.  Unfortunately, around baseball, the growing consensus is that the Jays will be sellers and the most talked about guy I heard of being sold is Josh Johnson.  Personally, I think that’s absurd given he’s in a contract year, he’s been awful (don’t argue that point please.  2 innings last night?!  just f***ing 2?!  That’s from our centerpiece of the Marlins trade?!?  I need a beer…), and I wouldn’t expect much back from a guy who’s a big question mark… yet, his name continues to get mentioned.

Staying neutral means the organization feels that with some few off-season tweaks, the team may be able to compete next season.  I’m not really sure how I feel about this.  I think the Jays are not in the best position to start rebuilding again.  I also don’t think the Jays are in a position to compete for even just a Wild Card spot with what they have.  Let’s not forget that if the Jays don’t start to jettison contracts of underachieving players that are overpaid in coming years, those contracts will become financial burdens (Known as to Alex Rodriguez a team.  Here’s the definition: Alex Rodriguez: Verb: To create team financial hardship and distress by overpaying a player millions of dollars and not getting a result or any result at all) and the players will be impossible to move.

So what do you think?  Should Toronto go on another buying spree like that of a 14 year old teenage girl?  Should AA pretend his team is like something out of The Sons of Anarchy and “ride or die?”  Or is it time to hit the abort button, close this chapter in Toronto baseball history, and start over again?

Should the Blue Jays Buy, Sell, or Do Nothing at the Trade Deadline?

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  • Justin Jay

    Hey guys, feel free to share thoughts. You won’t get bashed by me as to what you think the Jays should do… because I’m pretty indifferent on this… Just don’t start mentioning which players or coaches need to go… then I might have something to say

  • jays4life77

    Hey Justin, good article. My opinion would be the Jays should sell, blow the team up and get some elite young prospects much like the ones they gave away. I thought we had a pretty good plan with building a strong farm with some high end prospects to only go out and get older players nearing the end of good careers. Seems to much like what the Leafs used to do which never worked out.
    I know you said not to mention players by name BUT imo its time to trade Jose Bautista….I just don’t see him regaining his swing that he had a few seasons ago as he looks to be slowing down so don’t wait to long where he has no value. Also, as much as I love EE he would be a great trade chip with his contract and power and well if we are going to blow it up might as well start with the big boys.
    I honestly think the only untouchable should be Reyes, yes he makes big money, yes he is injury prone but he is also one of the only electric players on the jays so that’s what I would do if it were my decision.
    What are your thoughts? I am prepared to get bashed by other people reading my ideas as anyone who mentions Jose Bautista and trading him generally must be crazy according to people but I think its time and it would be smart to get what we can while we can.

    • brad

      Not going to bash you because nothing you said is really absurd or ill informed but I disagree with you.

      What are you going to get if you blow up this team? Reyes, Lind, Bautista, EE and the bullpen arms have value and are probably worth 7-10 good prospects in total….. maybe 3 will turn out. If the Jays starting pitching had any kind of value the discussion may be different, but the team would need to eat significant portions of their current SP contracts just to get another team to take them! Bottom line is: This team is not worth an entire team in elite prospects. Blow it up now and you will get back less than u trade away…. and it won’t even show up until 3-4 years from now.

      If it were me, I would try and leverage what little MLB depth I had to acquire a piece for next year without further depleting the farm. An intriguing possibility would be trading Adam Lind. A lot of people seem to want to say that he is back to the hitter he used to be and for now, his stats seem to back that up. If he were packaged with a reliever, a reasonable number 3 starter could be expected out of a team that could maybe use a bit more pop at 1st. You can then take the $7m you save on Lind and sign a 1b from a strong class this offseason. I think a team like Washington could match up well depending on how sold they are on Adam Laroche. They have a lot of pitching and not enough hitting.

      You would end up having a Rotation of: Dickey, Beuhrle, starter from trade, Morrow/Romero/Drabek/Hutchison/Happ for next year(assuming Josh Johnson is not resigned). With the $13million you saved on Josh Johnson, you could probably sign a decent #2 starter type from a deep SP class(think Nolasco, Garza, maybe take a run at Gallaraga) and wind up with a reasonably talented rotation and a little depth to trade for a 2b/3b if Morrow or Romero can rebuild any value this year.

    • Justin Jay

      I honestly loved what Brad said. I think they should stand pat and try to acquire another piece in the offseason. It’s going to be extremely difficult to unload some of these contracts without eating money.

      As far as Joey Bats goes, I see what you’re saying. He has lost a step and honestly, if the Jays went by the Rays philosophy, they WOULD try to trade him during or after this season (sell early, to gain more later.) The thing is, they would need to get a sure bet player in return. A great example is when the Jays traded Halladay. The big name in the deal was obviously Drabek, mostly because of the name. In time, it was d’Arnaud that became the piece that made the trade justifiable… and now he’s in NY. Drabek has yet to pan out. Point is, you HAVE TO get something guaranteed back for Bautista and like Brad says, with prospects, there’s no guarantee. So I’m not against the idea, but it HAS TO be for somebody that’s talented. Arizona has a gluttony of outfielders, but they might be willing to part with an Eaton, Pollock, or Parra combined with a pitcher say like possible Tyler Skaggs or/and Randall Delgado to get an impact player in the middle of a pennant race like Bautista. But a trade to say like the Pirates for relative unknowns like Jameson Taillon and Gregory Polanco or Josh Bell… not a good idea.

      I also like Brad’s idea of trading Adam Lind. He’s very limited in what he can do according to the Blue Jays, so why not let some other team figure it out. The Jays would be selling high and maybe be able to restock the farm system a bit.

      The major need is to get a solid arm, if not for this season, then for the next. Garza has been inconsistent and injury prone but is definitely more of a #2 than Nolasco has been. Nolasco, with where his stuff is at is more of a back of the rotation pitcher now. He’s also another guy that cannot stay healthy.

      I really like what JJ said above about player development. I think another Jays Journal writer, Alex Dineley, touched on the Jays inability to develop young starting pitching despite an influx of it. To make things worse, they’ve been unable to keep the young arms healthy as well. The list of names of pitchers that had major arm surgery within the organization is quite long. Teams that have been built successfully have been able to develop their own young arms: Giants, Cardinals, Nationals, Athletics, Braves, Diamondbacks, and even the early to mid-2000 Angels and Marlins. Though typically Boston had acquired an Ace for their rotation, they too have done well in developing starting pitching with guys like Lester, Buchholz, Masterson, and soon you’ll see Webster, De La Rosa, and Workman. I really feel that these organizations know something Toronto does not about how to develop arms… but I think it’s very possible Steve Delabar’s trainer starts to change that if he gets to work with the kids.

      This is great stuff guys! Thanks for commenting.

  • JJ

    This year has been a disappointment because of high expectations when AA acquired such highly touted players. I was certain that this was the year to contend. In my opinion we don’t need to be buyers or sellers. I think there is enough talent on their team. With that said I feel that the problem lies outside the players – more specifically the infrastructure of the team (player development, management, player support…). When I say player support I mean the research that goes into the opponent that trickles down to the players. It seems that our players lose the mental battle (our batters and pitchers being so predictable to our opponents and not changing approaches when necessary). In feel that this guidance and intel that support players can play a big role in preparing players to win games. For example, when there is a high leverage situation, a competent batter’s average should go up because they should be more focused. Instead their average is lower because the other side ups their game and our batters don’t. I have heard the comparison of baseball being like a chess match. Scouting reports about what the pitcher has and batters tendencies are available to everyone so it comes down to a mental battle – and the Blue Jays lose very often. I don’t know what the winning culture teams are doing but since we spend so much money on the players, we should be spending lots of money on the support so that we can get the most of our star players. Instead of trying to improve the roster, the Jays management should think about trying to lure the support staff from other perennial winning teams (even if we have to grossly overpay to get them to come to Toronto). Just my thought.

    • Justin Jay

      Good stuff