Blue Jays: The Royals are interested in Marco Estrada

NEW YORK, NY - JULY 05: Marco Estrada
NEW YORK, NY - JULY 05: Marco Estrada /

According to a report from SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo, the Kansas City Royals are interested in acquiring Marco Estrada from the Blue Jays. Trading the change-up artist now is a surprisingly complicated decision, so it’ll be interesting to see if this develops any further.

With another loss to the Red Sox on Wednesday night, the Blue Jays are one step closer to the July 31st trade deadline, and one game further behind the division leaders. The series concludes with the Jays hoping for a series split, exactly what they were hoping to avoid when it began on Monday. They needed to make up some ground, and now unfortunately they’re hoping to come out where they started.

With each loss, the rumours will intensify around the potential sale of veteran pieces, and that was the case on Wednesday as well. SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo wrote about the Kansas City Royals having interest in Marco Estrada, a pitcher they are more than familiar with. Estrada started two games against them in the 2015 ALCS, before the Royals went on the World Series.

As we all know, Estrada has been greatly struggling over the last two months, and has been a shell of the finesse artist he’s been over the last two seasons,. His ERA is over 9.50 since the beginning of June, and he couldn’t make it out of the 4th inning in his most recent outing.

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With all that said, it’s not surprising that there is interest on the trade market for the Mexican born right-hander. He had a 3.13 ERA in 34 starts in 2015, and followed it up with a 3.48 mark in an All-Star campaign last year. He began the year looking like the same pitcher, but things have fallen apart for him, which will significantly alter his market.

I can’t speak for the Royals obviously, but I’d imagine they’re looking at Estrada as a buy low candidate, and someone who could be had on the cheap. He’s underperforming, and he would be considered a rental as his contract expires at the end of the season. He’s also owed a decent amount of dough for the remainder of the year (pro-rated remainder of 14.5 million), which drives down the value of a struggling asset even further.

The Blue Jays will have to assess the return, and decide what they believe to be the best course of action. Selling Estrada now would be moving an asset at it’s lowest value, something that didn’t seem possible in May. The Jays could elect to hang on to him and see if he can bounce back, with a couple options in the event that he does.

If his extended struggles proves to be a blip on the radar in the grand scheme, the Jays could elect to bring him back for next year on what would be a reduced salary from what was expected a few months ago. It seems like a long shot, but they could end up offering him a qualifying offer, in the event that he significantly bounces back. That system has changed a great deal, and I couldn’t tell you for sure what it would take for them to get compensation if Estrada signed elsewhere, but it’s still something to consider.

Trading an expiring contract as a non-contender seems like a no-brainer, but it remains to be seen what the Royals, or anyone is willing to pay for the veteran starter. He was outstanding throughout his tenure with the Jays, right up until the calendar flipped to June, and it wouldn’t be a shock to see him figure things out.

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The Royals obviously think it’s possible, and are hoping the Blue Jays are willing to throw in the 34 year old. If the offer is reasonable, or if the Blue Jays decide to kick in some money to raise the prospect ante, it wouldn’t be surprising to see a deal get worked out.