The Toronto media has been out in full force lately in regards to the possibly upgrading the Blue Jays at or prior to the MLB Trade Deadline. While the focus has been primarily on the pitching staff, there has also been a call-to-arms in regards to upgrading the infield, especially in light of the injury to Adam Lind and possible time loss for Brett Lawrie after being hit on Wednesday night.
In two of those piece, one by Ben Nicholson-Smith for Sportsnet and the other by Richard Griffin for The Star, both authors note that the Blue Jays are being diligent in their efforts to end the platoon situation at second base, instead looking for a full-time upgrade at the keystone. That may entail moving Brett Lawrie to second and finding another third baseman, but regardless, the team understands that it cannot make a playoff push without fixing the leak first.
Away Back Gone
Now Griffin suggests a number of names, including Nick Franklin of the Seattle Mariners, Ramon Santiago of the Cincinnati Reds, Darwin Barney of the Chicago Cubs, and Ramiro Pena of the Atlanta Braves. However, while those players have some level of experience and to some degree availability, they don’t necessarily scream upgrade, at least on the offensive side of the ball.
That lead me to wonder why Griffin didn’t strive for more, why he didn’t look at something bigger. Why didn’t Richard Griffin look at Daniel Murphy of the Mets?
Murphy has been beast for the Mets in 2014, posting a solid slash of .295/.353/.411 with 5 home runs and 26 RBI. That has him ranked 4th among second basemen in WAR (FanGraphs). That would represent the kind of offensive upgrade the Blue Jays would desire at second base right?
Well, not so fast.
Now, we already went down the path of the Mets in a piece yesterday where Ben Machin wondered if the Toronto and New York could match-up on a deal for Jonathan Niese. And while Ben touched on possible pitching pieces that would go back to the Mets in that regard, New York wouldn’t be looking for that in a trade for Murphy.
The Mets have three sizable needs on their roster; outfield, first base, and shortstop. All of these needs, they seek to fill for Major League ready components, as they are deprived of this depth in the upper levels of their system. The problem, of course, is the Blue Jays are also lacking in those departments.
The Blue Jays may be able to contribute a near-Major League ready outfielder, in Kevin Pillar or Anthony Gose, but neither is truly ready for a full-time role and the Blue Jays may also be hesitant to part with either until they know what is going on with Melky Cabrera and Colby Rasmus after this season.
The depth at first and short is even more depressing. The latter is seeing Jonathan Diaz holding the fort at shortstop in Buffalo, while the pair of Kevin Nolan and Jorge Flores share the duties in New Hampshire. Diaz, as we know, doesn’t set the world on fire offensively and is well past his days of being a prospect, while Flores is better suited defensively at second and Nolan is actually hitting worse since being demoted from Triple-A. First base doesn’t even merit a discussion, as the collection of journeymen non-prospects are just not turning any heads.
So while Blue Jays fans, myself alike, would love to see them make a run as Daniel Murphy and his .295/.353/.411 slash-line, the teams just don’t match-up on a potential trade. The Blue Jays do have some interesting pieces in the lower levels that could swing a deal, but given the Mets desire to start pulling out of their rebuild with their arms starting to take shape, that likely isn’t enough to get it done.
The Blue Jays will just need to keep looking elsewhere for now.