Hoffman+ for Cueto and Chapman: Would The Blue Jays Do It?


In a recent article, Jeff Sullivan of Fox examined what the Reds could get in trade for a package including both Johnny Cueto and Aroldis Chapman.  He said that the Reds would likely be looking for a package built around a single high-level prospect, rather than a bunch of lesser prospects.  Something similar to the Addison Russell for Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel deal that went down last July.

He then went on to speculate about what such a deal would look like.  Eduardo Rodriguez plus Henry Owens from the Red Sox?  Would the Dodgers even consider Julio Urias or Corey Seager?

And … would the Jays consider Jeff Hoffman or Daniel Norris?

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I am sure that many Jays fans shudder at the very thought of trading Hoffman or Norris.  Memories of the

Travis d’Arnaud


Noah Syndergaard

trade for

R.A. Dickey

spring to mind, along with the fear that Hoffman becomes another

Justin Verlander


some have suggested


But, for the sake of the argument, let’s examine the possibility.

As good as Hoffman is, he is still pitching at A+.  It is no guarantee that he even becomes a mlb starter, much less that he becomes a Verlander.  Remember Kyle Drabek – centerpiece of the Roy Halladay deal, and rated the #25 prospect in baseball pre-2010 by Baseball America?  Or Travis Snider – ranked #6 by BA pre-2009 and considered a “sure thing”?  And remember that it is not a guarantee that a pitcher who undergoes Tommy John surgery will come back 100%.

The Jays are in an unusual position that they have many options for their pitching staff.  Assuming that they exercise their option on Dickey (which at $12 million appears to be a near-lock) they will have Stroman, Hutchison, Sanchez and Dickey headlining their rotation in 2016, with Daniel Norris, Roberto Osuna, Miguel Castro, Scott Copeland, Matt Boyd (and possibly Felix Doubront, Marco Estrada, and Randy Wolf) all fighting for the 5th starter spot.  I appreciate the old adage about how you can never have too much pitching, but the Jays have more pitching now than they have had in years.

And the Cueto / Chapman fit is arguably better for the Jays than for any other mlb team.  When Devon Travis and Michael Saunders return, the Jays’ two biggest needs will be for an ace starter and a shut-the-door closer.  Cueto is pitching very well (2.85 ERA and 3.15 FIP) and is not only a true ace, but an innings-eating ace.  In the Rogers Centre launching pad, and with the sometimes-less-than-outstanding Jays infield defense, a closer who misses bats is particularly valuable.  In that respect, Chapman’s 14.93 K/9 speaks even louder than his 2.36 FIP, and he is still arb-eligible for one more year.

The bottom line?  It would be very difficult to give up a Hoffman.  If a deal could be done with lesser talents, it would be infinitely more palatable.  But if Hoffman were the only option, the Jays should at least give the idea some serious thought.

Next: Blue Jays Weekly: Winning Streak Edition