Blue Jays rumours: Interest in Troy Tulowitzki, Kevin Pillar


The Toronto Blue Jays have reportedly received interest throughout the offseason on shortstop Troy Tulowitzki and centre-fielder Kevin Pillar

The Blue Jays rumour mill spins on with this Monday report from Robert Murray of Baseball Essential, citing an MLB source saying that Toronto has received trade interest in Troy Tulowitzki and Kevin Pillar.

Tulowitzki does seem the unlikeliest of the two to be moved for a laundry-list of reasons, the first of which is a full no-trade clause that triggered in his contract after the trade over from Colorado. With that in place, nothing happens without the green light from Tulowitzki.

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He’s also signed through 2020, with five guaranteed years remaining at $94 million. Following that, his age-36 season in 2021 holds $15 million team option with a $4 million buyout. To a potential suitor that is not entirely damning, but it’s not listed in the ‘pros’ category either.

In Kevin Pillar, though, there does stand a greater level of logic. (Though, of course, these reports should be taken with a grain of salt until separate reports come along).

“The player on the Blue Jays that has garnered the most trade interest, according to a source: Outfielder Kevin Pillar. Pillar is a player that teams appear to have a lot of interest in. Teams value his speed and defense, as well as his upside.In trade offers, teams were offering the Blue Jays either starting pitching or back end relievers in return for Pillar, but it wasn’t enough for the team to pull the trigger on a deal,” writes Murray.

Pillar does not become arbitration eligible until 2018 with his earliest free agency coming in 2021, a factor that would work in Toronto’s favour in any trade negotiations.

Past that, there’s a legitimate chance that Pillar is coming off a 4.3 WAR season which will come to represent his peak career value.

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Toronto is hoping that isn’t the case, but it’s not outside the realm of possibility by any means.

Now, the unestablished timeline involved in this report does lead me to believe that the interest in Pillar came prior to the trade of Ben Revere to the Washington Nationals for Drew Storen.

At this point, an outfield of Jose Bautista, Dalton Pompey, Michael Saunders and one of Ezequiel Carrera or Junior Lake would likely be too large a risk to take, even if it means the return of a middle-of-rotation starting pitcher.