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Blue Jays: MLB Offseason- Position Players Trade Value

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The season of speculation is upon us. While the Blue Jays are busy looking at possible ways to address their needs, so to are other teams. Their search may just lead them to Toronto’s roster. We know that this club has offensive power to spare. And, while interim GM, Tony LaCava, already said he’d like to leave the offense in tact, he’d at least have to listen to offers. For Blue Jays fans, it might be interesting to hear just how highly these position players are valued.

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While we won’t be privy to the actual trade discussions that go on, really the only sense of the value others see in Blue Jays players is through the speculation that swirls around. What tends to happen is that Blue Jays fans see much more value in their own players than perhaps others do. Think back to the Trade Deadline. Many thought Jeff Hoffman was untouchable due to his “second coming” status.

Toronto Blue Jays
Toronto Blue Jays /

Toronto Blue Jays

It is understandable that fans value their own more given the constant contact with information, etc about said players. But, does that perceived value hold up when considering trade talks? Take for example, a tweet (it has since been deleted) that asked Jays Journal about the following trade: Chicago White Sox send Chris Sale to Toronto for Anthony Alford, Roemon Fields and Jonathan Harris. Chicago fans who saw it thought it was ridiculous. But, these prospects are among the most coveted in the Blue Jays system now.

Here’s another trade scenario that seems to be one sided. Over at SodoMojo.com they postulate that Kevin Pillar would be a good trade target for the Seattle Mariners. They offer a glowing report of Pillar and why he would make sense as the Mariners CF. And, he would. His 2016 projections (.279 with 31 doubles, 11 home runs, 62 RBI and 17 steals in 138 games) certainly would be a good pick up.

On the surface, it would appear that they see great value in Pillar. But, the ultimate test of perceived value is the suggested return. In this case, it is suggested that Canadian, James Paxton could be enough to get the deal done. Now, they do acknowledge that a “mid-tier” prospect could be added. Is this enough for the Blue Jays to part with a Gold Glove nominee? It seems a little one-sided.

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Yes, the club needs pitching, but would a guy who is 27 and has never started more than 13 games at the big league level be enough? According to Steamer, Paxton is projected to be a sub .500 pitcher with a WAR of 1.5. To be fair, the Blue Jays do have more outfielders than spots right now. But, if anything, Pillar has solidified himself as one of the guys who is not going anywhere. Unless the offer is better than this.

So far, there have been calls to trade Troy Tulowitzki and Jose Bautista. Those spouting these ideas cite the need to restock the system, or to bring in top level pitching. We know their value to the Blue Jays, but what kind of package would they bring in? Would we be happy with it? Likely not.

And, this is why the offseason is so interesting. For the same reason that other clubs (and their fans) may undervalue Blue Jays players, we very well could undervalue theirs. And vice versa for the hometown players. When evaluating a player’s value, we often look to WAR, etc. But, looking to what kind of package they bring in trade is an interesting exercise. A major part of a player’s value in trade has nothing to do with his play on the field. Rather, it has to do with his contract status and years of control.

We also have to remember that trade value changes depending upon which team you are negotiating with. The Mariners may really value a Gold Glove caliber CF, but the Angels wouldn’t. They have one. Need dictates value. As well, what you have to offer also dictates value. In the offseason, it is interesting to speculate trading Player X for Player Y, but getting a deal done is so much more complicated than that.

Next: Who Was Blue Jays' Most Improved Player in 2015?

It really comes down to value. Do the Toronto Blue Jays have players valued by other teams? Sure they do. Will this talent bring in the same value in a trade for pitching? Who knows. But, when considering trades, we have to remember that other clubs see Blue Jays players in a different light than we do. That light may alter the color of the value.

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