May 1, 2014; Kansas City, MO, USA; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Mark Buehrle (56) delivers a pitch against the Kansas City Royals in the first inning at Kauffman Stadium. Mandatory Credit: John Rieger-USA TODAY Sports
It’s funny how quickly a team’s struggles can get the vultures circling.
Dropping 7 of the last 10, the Toronto Blue Jays have had their fair share of struggles and it has sent the rats scurrying from the ship. It has also seemingly cued the media that he Blue Jays are prime for speculation. Enter Mr. Nick Cafardo, intrepid reporter for the Boston Globe, who feels the Blue Jays are ready to start selling off their assets.
"Scouts are already indicating the Blue Jays will be a major team to pay attention to at the trading deadline. If they start fading, scouts view Buehrle as a top target of contending teams. There’s also Jose Bautista and Edwin Encarnacion to consider, but Buehrle, given his ability to pitch in either league at a high level and to work quickly and effectively, will be valued."
The performance of Mark Buehrle during the beginning stretch of 2014, in which he’s gone 5-1 with a 2.25 ERA and a 3.20 FIP, has turned heads and started the speculation train rolling. Given the tremendous issues facing almost every team in regards to the current health of pitching around the league, the speculation is almost a prerequisite. The rash of Tommy John also brings almost every team into the picture.
Except for the fact that the Blue Jays aren’t technically out of the running. Oh, and we’re only a month into the season.
Entering play on Monday, and despite their issues and slide, the Blue Jays sit only 2.5 games out of first place. Additionally, the bullpen struggles have masked the fact that the team has been scoring runs and in a position to win nearly nightly during this recent slide, meaning this team can be much better.
If they (Blue Jays) start fading, scouts view Buehrle as a top target of contending teams. – Nick Cafardo
So while it is news worthy to start talking about trading an arm like Mark Buehrle, or a bat like Jose Bautista or Edwin Encarnacion, it isn’t necessarily feasible. Even if you take the Blue Jays performance out of the picture and pretend that they are further our of the picture than they actually are, let’s also consider that Buehrle’s heavily back-loaded contract would allow him to be traded for anything worthwhile. With the remainder of an $18 million deal in 2014 and a 2015 contract worth $19 million, that may be a tough contract to move when you justify it by noting that the soft-tossing Buehrle is likely over-performing.
So hey Nick, let’s leave the speculation alone until we have a better picture of the season, and a better idea of just how much value Buehrle, Bautista, and/or Encarnacion can bring in a trade.