Blue Jays apparently only willing to sell the rental players

TORONTO, ON - JUNE 13: Marco Estrada
TORONTO, ON - JUNE 13: Marco Estrada /

According to a report from Bob Elliot, he’s been told that two National League scouts are saying the Blue Jays will only trade their rental players, such as Marco Estrada, Francisco Liriano, or Joe Smith.

The rumour mill is going to be a busy one this week, and the Blue Jays will surface plenty because of where they are in the standings. They also have several expiring contracts on their roster, and are basically out of contention at this point (barring a historical run), so they’re ripe for the picking when it comes to trades.

With that in mind, the obvious candidates to go are Marco Estrada, Francisco Liriano, and Joe Smith, among several others. All of their contracts expire at the end of the season, as does Jose Bautista‘s, assuming his option isn’t picked up for 2018. There has been plenty of speculation that the list could include Josh Donaldson, J.A. Happ and more, but it doesn’t sound as if that’s going to be the case.

According to a report from Bob Elliot, he’s been told by a couple National League scouts that the Blue Jays aren’t interested in trading anyone that isn’t on an expiring contract. That means Donaldson and Happ would stay put, as would the far less likely trades of players like Marcus Stroman, who has also garnered plenty of interest on the trade market.

Elliot had a few nuggets from these unnamed sources, including:

"“We have nine days to go so on one hand it could be early, things may change. Our team has been told that they are only wanting to move free agents.” – Unnamed NL Scout"

It’s good to see that Blue Jays’ front office believes in the bulk of the roster, even if they’ve had an unthinkably bad season. I’m as frustrated as any fan of the Blue Jays, but it doesn’t make sense that they’re this bad. I know, the roster is getting older and with that comes regression, but we’re seeing struggles almost across the entire board, including their own perennial MVP candidate in Donaldson.

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I think it’s reasonable for the front office to believe they could compete next year, as they do have a solid core returning, and some money coming off the books. Assuming their pending free agents do not return, Bautista made 18.5 this year, Estrada made 14.5 million, and Liriano made 13.67. Joe Smith was signed to a bargain for three million, and will likely get a raise next year whether it’s with Toronto or not.

He also reinforced the Estrada to Kansas City rumours in the article, and breaks down more of the variables involved in the sale of their free agents to be. However, the Royals made a trade for pitching with the San Diego Padres today, so the Royals’ interest could have changed since Elliot’s article was published

As much as this report may be true at the moment, it’s entirely possible things could change in a hurry before the July 31st trade deadline. If a team called Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins with a slam dunk trade offer for one of their controllable pieces, it’s likely that they would consider it, even if it involves someone like Donaldson or Happ.

From what I can gather from the reports leaking about the Blue Jays’ philosophy this trade season, they intend to compete next year, so if they can get the kind of offer that will help them in the near term as well as the long term, don’t be surprised if they make a move.

Next: Who might have interest in trading for Jose Bautista?

Then again, don’t be surprised if they don’t do a whole heck of a lot either.