Blue Jays Morning Brew: MLB Draft and Trade Deadline Targets
This edition of the Blue Jays Morning Brew brings you a collection of MLB Draft talk, trade talk and all around buzz around the Toronto Blue Jays. Let’s get to it.
Heading into the draft, at Sportsnet.ca, Ben Nicholson-Smith highlighted the past 5 years and says there’s a pattern. The Blue Jays have targeted pitching. That in and of itself is not exactly earth shattering. But, what is of interest is that the arms that have been drafted by Alex Anthopoulos and company have been used in several ways. A goo dnumber of the arms taken in the draft have been used to land the likes of Josh Donaldson (Sean Nolin, Kendall Graveman), R. A Dickey (Noah Syndergaard) and to complete deals like the “Miami Deal” (Anthony DeSclafani).
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While you can argue the merits of each deal, the draft pattern shows that drafting is not just to bring in talent and develop it. No, it is also used as currency. Brian Parker, Blue Jays scouting director, says that his job is to get AA the best talent available to use however he sees fit. “We’re just trying to get talent. We’re trying to get assets for Alex to use in whatever way he wants to use them. The most important thing is just to get the best talent you can rather than try to find a positional weakness and target that because six months from now that might not be a weakness.”
In sticking with the MLB Draft, Josh Donaldson had some harsh words for the process of being drafted as opposed to being a player from a foreign country.
This points to players like Yoan Moncada coming to the major leagues via leagues in Cuba or elsewhere. These players can sign multi-million dollar deals while those from Canada and the United States have to go through the amateur draft and make far less. And, while Gregg Zaun went off about this on the Blue Jays pre-game show Monday, there seems to be no easy solution. Zaun suggested that there be a draft for international players and for North American players. This, he says, would give everyone an equal shot at landing the big international players.
Switching gears from one type of potential Blue Jays to another, we hear (from Mark Zwolinksi at The Star) that Alex Anthopoulos admitted his interest in free agent Rafael Soriano. And, while he kept it at a minimum, his admission is interesting for a guy who operates in the shadows, as it were. It remains to be seen just how much “looking into” Soriano the Blue Jays do.
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But, if that doesn’t work out, AA also reminds us that he has Dioner Navarro to dangle in trade talks. While Zwolinski mentions that the Phillies may like Navarro, the actual cost of acquiring closer, Jonathan Papelbon might be higher than that. As well, we should keep in mind that, while bullpen help is needed, so is rotation help. Navarro may just be a part of a package required. Interestingly enough, Richard Griffin says that the club needs outfield help, which Navarro could help get. It is hard to imagine that Navarro could hold that much value that he could bring in a piece of value to help in these areas on his own.
Whatever this team does, they are starting to make people believe they are legit. ESPN’s Adnan Virk, Aaron Boone and Buster Olney sang the praises of this team’s offense on Sunday Night Countdown and believe that they are just one or two moves away from taking the American League East. They suggest that a front line starter or a closer are what the Blue Jays need to put them over the top. The problem is that they make it sound so easy. “Oh, we’ll just go and pick up a top flight starter with milk and eggs.” It isn’t that easy. The Blue Jays are going to have to give up quite a bit that could scare them off.
The piece by Christina Kahrl that features this video goes more in depth regarding the run differential that the above gentlemen referenced. The panel point out the +45 differential, which is good for the best in baseball. Yet, their record isn’t as high as this stat would lead us to believe. Obviously, the pitching has been the reason for the difference. Kahrl backs up the guys and points out that the Blue Jays do not have a solid #1 (or even #2) starter. Nor do they have a lock down closer. It would appear, at this point, that everyone on the planet now knows what AA will be looking for at the Trade Deadline, if they didn’t know it already.
We can expect that after the draft, the Blue Jays will turn their full attention to making some noise in the AL East. The “feeler” type phone calls will pick up. We all know how those calls will start. How they end, is anyone’s guess. What we do know is that we’ll keep you up to date throughout.
Next: Blue Jays draft recap and pick profiles