Jul 12, 2014; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays manager John Gibbons (5) looks on from the dugout during the third inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Trade Rumors: Blue Jays cannot take on salary in trades

Well Toronto Blue Jays fans, we’ve sat and pondered why the Blue Jays front office has been enamored in acquiring low-cost, reconstruction projects in order to fill gaps. We’ve wondered aloud about the justification for playing time for Darin Mastroianni, the reasons behind picking up Brad Mills off waivers, and other intriguing roster decisions.

We may finally have our answer in the form of a tweet from Bob Elliot of the Toronto Sun, which may put a damper on any trade rumors the Blue Jays have been mentioned in.

Now, Elliot doesn’t do the validity of his tweet any wonders by adding an extra “T” in the word extra, but he certainly throws fuel on the fire that has burned with fan speculation since last winter’s failed free agency endeavors.

A spending limit by the Blue Jays would be somewhat understandable, as the team carries the ninth highest salary in the game, at $129,427,700 according to USA Today. The team also didn’t deliver as promised a year ago, when management sunk money into the team and didn’t get a solid return on investment.

That said, Rogers could approach the situation from a few perspectives.

1.) They could see the current team as a lost cause, judging that the current slide as a sign that the team over-achieved in the early part of the season. In this scenario, they could see the team as unworthy of investing further dollars into.

or…

2.) Rogers could view the situation as a bi-product of injuries, feeling that the current production of the team will improve drastically when the health of the team improves in a few weeks time. Getting the likes of Edwin Encarnacion, Adam Lind, and Brett Lawrie back will be a greater service to this team than acquiring any of the high-priced players on the market.

or…

3.) They would rather sink prospects into deals than investing further capital in the team.

It is the latter reason that haunts me most, as the Blue Jays have seen a decent rebound in 2014 in terms of prospect status, especially after emptying out the farm system prior to the 2013 season. If Elliot’s tweet is true, and the Jays are invested in still landing a solid piece at the deadline, that would mean the Blue Jays would have to sweeten any pot further in order to acquire a David Price, Ben Zobrist, Chase Headley, Cole Hamels, Martin Prado, or others.

Moving pieces like Daniel Norris, Dalton Pompey, or Aaron Sanchez, not to mention Major League pieces like Drew Hutchison or Marcus Stroman, would be a short-sighted mistake. Having to pay out the majority of those pieces in just one or two deals for short-term rentals would be downright foolish.

The question then comes if how this team assesses itself. The Blue Jays, after last night’s loss, are tied for second place with the New York Yankees and sit four games behind the Baltimore Orioles. That isn’t insurmountable, but the team is showing no signs of pulling out of its funk either. If the slide continues, the team may need to change directions.

The problem is, there is only 12 days remaining before the non-waiver trade deadline. That doesn’t leave a whole lot of time to assess whether the team should continue to be buyers or if they should become a seller. If Elliot’s tweet is true, that decision may already have been made. It won’t please fans one bit, especially after sniffing first place for several weeks, but at least it will be a decision.

And there is nothing more a fan base hates than indecision.

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Tags: MLB Trade Deadline Toronto Blue Jays

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