Blue Jays: The potential benefit if the Cardinals miss on Giancarlo Stanton

BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 26: Josh Donaldson
BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 26: Josh Donaldson /

The MLB off-season has been an extremely slow to this point. That is likely due to the Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes holding up the market. Besides Ohtani, all the chatter in the rumour mill has surrounded the Miami Marlins and slugger Giancarlo Stanton. It has been reported that the San Francisco Giants are the front runners over the St. Louis Cardinals, which could have a ripple effect on the Toronto Blue Jays.

Ross Atkins and Mark Shapiro have both stated that the Blue Jays plan on competing for a playoff spot in 2018. In almost every scenario, that would mean Josh Donaldson, who will enter arbitration and his contract year, would stick around at least until the trade deadline to see how the club is performing. They could then consider dealing him to get some sort of return instead of losing him for nothing at season’s end.

A big talking point surrounding the Blue Jays off-season to this point is what they will do with Donaldson. Do they extend him on the wrong side of 30? Do they trade him this off-season? Do they hold him until the deadline? Keep him all year? There’s no answer to any of those questions at this point. Contract extension discussions haven’t even begun yet according to industry sources and MLB insiders. Any contract discussions likely will occur as they enter arbitration but as mentioned above, I personally see no way Donaldson is not the Opening Day 3rd baseman, barring what happens with the St. Louis Cardinals and the Giancarlo Stanton sweepstakes.

It’s no secret that the Cardinals need to add a legit superstar power bat in the middle of the order. It’s what they lacked in 2017 as they failed to make the post-season. That’s why they’re reportedly one of the teams who are really trying to make a push to land Giancarlo Stanton from the Marlins. The Marlins will require a haul of a return from whoever decides to pony up in the Stanton sweepstakes. The Cardinals do have tons of young MLB level talent, as well as young, lower minor league talent that’s close-to-major-league-ready, which they can use to try and land Stanton.

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Should the Cardinals lose out on Giancarlo Stanton, they’re going to turn their heads to another power bat who can help the middle of their lineup. There’s nobody of that kind on the free agent market. That’s why they could engage with the Blue Jays and make a deal for Josh Donaldson work for both sides due to the abundance of major league ready prospects and already established major leaguers.

The return the Blue Jays would get for Donaldson wouldn’t come close to that of Stanton, but that’s why the Cardinals could look to the Blue Jays. If they’re already prepping a package of talent to send to the Marlins, they could modify that package and offer it to the Blue Jays to gauge the interest of Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins.

Ross Atkins has stated that the team would be open to trading off the major league roster if it helped them for the current season (which would now be for 2018 immediately). That’s where the Cardinals could help the Blue Jays and make an interesting run at acquiring the 3rd baseman. The Cardinals have tons of young, major league ready talent including:

That’s a great deal of talent on both the pitching side, and in the outfield. Tons of talent that may not have enough room on the roster going forward over the next few years, and that the Cardinals would be forced to move a few of eventually. If the Cardinals dangled a handful of those prospects to the Miami Marlins for Giancarlo Stanton, surely they’d do a similar list for Josh Donaldson, which would peak the interest of myself and potentially the front office.

If the Cardinals were to start with a package of one of Randal Grichuk/Stephen Piscotty/Tommy Pham and one of Michael Wacha/Alex Reyes/Sandy Alcantara, you’d have me interested enough to continue trade discussions. There would likely be other moving parts on either side but should the Cardinals dangle any of those names to the Blue Jays, you could get some discussion moving towards a potential trade. A return including some of the names I’ve listed could not only help the Blue Jays a few years down the road, but as soon as the 2018 season, which is what Ross Atkins wants and what it would take.

I do feel as if the St. Louis Cardinals are the only team that could offer the Toronto Blue Jays a good enough package where they would pull the strings on moving Josh Donaldson before Opening Day. If it’s not the Cardinals, he will not be moved before the trade deadline. But, the St. Louis Cardinals potentially missing out on Giancarlo Stanton could be of benefit to the Toronto Blue Jays, if it gets that far.

Next: Jays shake up the roster before the 40-man deadline