It’s just after 7 o’clock, only two days remain before the 2014 non-waiver trade deadline as headlines stream across my Twitter page proclaiming that the Jays have finally made a move sending Erik Kratz and Liam Hendriks to the Kansas City Royals for third-basemen Danny Valencia.
I’m excited, shocked and mostly curious whether this is, first off, a good move and secondly, whether this is it for the Blue Jays before the deadline passes us by.
To start off, the Valencia deal, at least initially, appears to be a win for the Blue Jays. Not that the Jays completely fooled the Royals, rather the deal upgraded the Jays at a position where they needed help. The acquisition added another right-handed bat to a team craving just that who also is able to hit left-handed pitching and play sound defence.
And what did they give up? Basically spare parts in Kratz and Hendriks who both had brief stints in the majors this season before returning to Buffalo to essentially play as Quadruple- A players.
Now comes the second part: are the Jays done at trading table or was the Valencia acquisition merely the appetizer? In at least this writer’s opinion, the answer is yes, they’ve finished their meal.
Although the Jays should and would like to upgrade their bullpen and more importantly their starting rotation, it most likely won’t happen because of the limited pieces available for the Jays to make a serious move and the lack of finances to get a deal done.
In weeks past, the Jays have been linked to just about anyone on the market including most notably David Price, Alex Rios and Chris Denorfia. Those are only the players we know about. Others could include, Cole Hamels, Asdrubal Cabrera, Chase Utley or Cliff Lee. But with the exception of Denorfia, all of the aforementioned players would likely require a significant package with at least some prospects and major league talent.
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The question is, who’s really expendable? With Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez both contributing in Toronto, it’s unlikely the Jays are or were ever willing to part ways with them. Most analysts would add top prospects Daniel Norris and Dalton Pompey to the untouchable list as well, leaving the farm system with a lot of low-level talent currently lacking any substantial trade value.
As far as major league talent is concerned, its uncertain who would be both expendable and comparable to the aforementioned players in trade value. Surely any combination of Ryan Goins, Munenori Kawasaki, Juan Francisco, Steven Tolleson, Kevin Pillar and Anthony Gose would not be enough to acquire a game changing player like Chase Utley.
If that wasn’t enough to kill your trade deadline buzz, it has recently been speculated the Jays are unwilling and unable to take on any additional payroll. Therefore, without making some major readjustments in the current payroll, the Jays couldn’t really make a move to acquire a serious difference maker in the lineup.
What’s left for the Jays then? Not much. With Anthopoulous’ hands mostly tied, he’s left throwing replacement value talent at the wall and hoping some of it will stick.
Thus, the Jays could potentially still add someone before the pennant race concludes; however, with all things considered, it likely won’t be anyone with game changing talent unless the Jays are willing to take on significant payroll additions and part ways with some of their top prospects.
Realistically, I don’t forsee either occurring.