The Braves are shopping Shelby Miller. Do the Blue Jays have the pieces to acquire one of baseball’s young star pitchers?
With Toronto’s Winter Meetings rumor mill still churning, a pair of recent tweets could have interesting implications for the Blue Jays.
The Atlanta Braves, MLB’s believers of “The Process”, are shopping around young All-Star pitcher Shelby Miller. Miller was acquired last offseason from St. Louis in a blockbuster deal for Jason Heyward and despite Atlanta’s best efforts, he had a pretty good season for the Braves. He posted a 3.02 ERA during 33 starts in the 2015 season and was rewarded with an MLB leading 17 losses. Truly, he deserved better. It appears he’s being rewarded with a ticket out of town.
Now almost every team has been linked with Miller, as well they should be. Not only is Miller good, he’s under team control until 2018, which is what teams are always craving in their young pitchers. CBS’s Jon Heyman lists Arizona, the Yankees, the Cubs, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Miami (Ha!) and Baltimore as teams poking around the Braves seeing if they were a match. The interesting detail emerged earlier today, when FOX’s Ken Rosenthal revealed Atlanta’s trade goals:
This is not just good news for the fact that Baltimore will not be the team bringing in another stud pitcher to make Blue Jays fans groan into their $10 beers next year. When this tidbit is combined with tweets yesterday from ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, those beers may become easier to stomach.
Atlanta wants to replace the husk of Michael Bourn with a younger, cheaper, better option, and the Blue Jays are one of the few teams that can offer that to the Braves. Given the choice of Gold Glove finalist Kevin Pillar, or Dalton Pompey, the Hot Tub Time Machine’d Michael Bourn, either one would be a more than capable outfielder for Atlanta as they get set to move into that shiny new stadium in 2017.
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Now Pillar would be more likely to move in this sort of deal, given he’s the more established of the two players and Miller is going to be worth a hefty package. However, another bat would likely be necessary and someone like Jays Journal favorite Rowdy Tellez might have to get involved. Freddie Freeman has also been mentioned in trade rumors and Tellez would offer a future power bat in the lineup.
Sending an upside starter like Drew Hutchison back may become an option as well, given that acquiring Miller would result in seven starters in Toronto, but Atlanta wanted none of Baltimore’s young pitching, so it wouldn’t add as much to the kitty as it would in other trades. Also, having seven starters isn’t a problem in the Blue Jays’ eyes:
If the Blue Jays were willing to eat Bourn’s $12M price tag for 2016, that could help grease the wheels, and there would be no worries about his 2017 vesting option kicking in, since there is no way they will let Bourn hit the plate 550 times. There is familiarity with Bourn in the front office as well, given President Mark Shapiro is the one who gave Bourn that contract in the first place when he signed with Cleveland in 2013. Also of pertinence: Bourn is a lefty bat. He’s no Chris Davis, but it would give the Blue Jays options if a Michael Saunders/Ben Revere/Pompey/Jose Bautista outfield needs platooning or injury fill-ins.
So what do the readers think? Does a rotation of Miller/Stroman/Estrada/Happ/Dickey sound enticing? Do you think Rogers would be willing to eat $12M of Bourn’s contract to appease a fan base still seething from the loss of
? Make your thoughts known in the comments below, and if the NBC’s Craig Calceterra’s
and Miller has been traded by the time you read this, let us know how the Shapiro regime has failed the Blue Jays yet again by not preventing him from being shipped to Texas in a shock deal.