Blue Jays’ struggles have many looking at their trade pieces

Apr 13, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays designated hitter Josh Donaldson (20) grimaces as he runs to first base after hitting an RBI double in the sixth inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 13, 2017; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays designated hitter Josh Donaldson (20) grimaces as he runs to first base after hitting an RBI double in the sixth inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: John E. Sokolowski-USA TODAY Sports /
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On Tuesday, MLB.com’s Mark Feinsand discussed where Josh Donaldson would fit as a trade piece if the Blue Jays decide to sell later in the year, including the New York Mets.

With the Blue Jays having started the season 9-19, it’s not surprising that many fans are already dreading the possibility of a re-tool or rebuild in Toronto, especially after two straight trips to the postseason. With a veteran club like the Jays, there are several pieces that could make sense as trade candidates, perhaps highlighted by Josh Donaldson.

While it’s nothing new to hear his name banded about on Twitter, it was interesting to see the idea of the Blue Jays trading him show up on MLB.com, with an article and interview with Mark Feinsand. Feinsand suggested that if the Blue Jays become sellers, he could see two teams in particular that would be in hot pursuit: The New York Mets and Boston Red Sox.

I’m going to have to respectfully disagree on the Red Sox idea, mostly because I can’t see Boston giving the Jays the type of package it would take to get it done. If you’re going to trade a franchise player, you want some young pieces that you can legitimately build around.

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As an example, the Red Sox had to trade Yoan Moncada as the highlight as their stacked prospect package, in order to acquire Chris Sale from the White Sox. For the Red Sox to get someone like Donaldson from the Blue Jays, it would require something like Andrew Benintendi and prospects, and that just isn’t going to happen. If there are any Red Sox fans reading that last sentence, they’re likely scoffing in disgust, but it’s going to take a monster package to pry Donaldson away, especially this season.

I’m not ready to really dig into the idea of trading the 2015 AL MVP, but I’m willing to humour the idea from Feinsand, as his article makes some valid points about Donaldson’s future. He’s getting expensive, early 17 million this year before entering his first year of arbitration in 2018, and would bring back a much greater haul if the Blue Jays chose to trade him this year instead of next.

We’ve discussed the idea a bit here at Jays Journal, and have mostly tried to move on from the topic until the season gets a little older and the front office has a proper chance to evaluate the short, and long term future of the club. One thing is for sure, they value Donaldson very much and would like to keep him around.

"“We’re exceptionally glad that he’s a Toronto Blue Jay — and hope that he will be for a long time. Certainly, he’s an exceptional player; one of the best in the game. He’s integral to our offense, our defense, our clubhouse and our culture.”- Ross Atkins"

Feinsand’s article also noted that Atkins declined to comment on whether or not they have talked extension with Donaldson’s agent. There’s a good chance they haven’t broached the topic a whole lot yet, as there are many variables that would play into that decision.

Getting back to the Mets for a minute here though, Feinsand also notes that “The Mets have the prospects to get it done too”, which could be true, depending on how willing they are to dip into the prospect jar. According to the Top 100 Prospects list from Baseball America, the Mets have 3 of them, including the #8 overall ranked shortstop Amed Rosario, first baseman Dominic Smith rated at #71, and the #100 pick, pitcher Justin Dunn. If they were serious about making an offer for the Blue Jays’ star third baseman, it would likely have to start with Rosario.

However, as we’ve noted above and Feinsand noted as well, we’re likely a few months away from this becoming a real conversation. For the moment, it’s something for Blue Jays fans to dread, opposing teams to dream about, and motivation for the club to get their act together before the bosses are tempted to “break up the band”.

Next: Blue Jays' J.A. Happ throwing, but return not imminent

Hopefully the Blue Jays can finish up their road trip strongly against the Rays, which starts on Friday, and all this silly talk about the Blue Jays trading Donaldson can be over with. And yes, I’m aware that I just contributed to it too, but what else do you want from an off day?

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