The popular discussion on Twitter on Wednesday was Bo Bichette as a possible trade piece. What kind of return would the Jays need to entertain the idea? It would have to be a blockbuster move to warrant letting go of the future star.
When there isn’t a lot happening on the hot stove, fans (and even writers) tend to start letting their minds wander. The latest case was Bo Bichette being frequently discussed on Wednesday on Twitter, and whether or not the Blue Jays should consider trading the 19 year old hitting phenom.
Trade rumours are always rampant in December, and some have more validity to them than others. When it comes to the Blue Jays entertaining moving one of their top two system prospects, it sounds like a stretch when it comes to the history of Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins, but you never know.
Most of the dialogue about the idea of trading Bichette was based on the Marlins’ fire sale, after they’ve traded Giancarlo Stanton, Dee Gordon, and Marcell Ozuna for very few significant assets. It’s been a straight salary dump for the new ownership group, which had several Blue Jays fans dreaming of Christian Yelich, who is the last remaining star on the Marlins’ roster.
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Yelich has five years of club control remaining, and is already a young star at the age of 26. He hit .282/.369/.439 with 18 home runs, 81 RBI, and16 stolen bases in 2017, good for 3.9 bWAR. He’s a capable centre fielder, and would be even better if he were moved to a corner outfielder spot, as he could in Toronto with the presence of Kevin Pillar. As far as checking the boxes that Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins are looking for, Yelich is pretty much a perfect fit.
However, when it comes to acquiring a player of that calibre, you have to give back a significant return, which is why Bo Bichette’s name was being discussed. If the Blue Jays were serious about trading for Yelich, someone like Bichette would probably have to highlight the package. Would the Blue Jays seriously consider it?
Ian Hunter over at www.bluejayshunter.com ran a poll on Twitter, and the results were closer than you might think. He had 56-44 in favour of “no” for if you’d be willing to trade Bichette to get Yelich, which shows how highly the fanbase already values Bichette’s future and potential. As with all prospects that could be foolish, but there’s no denying the raw talent he’s displayed thus far.
When it comes to the idea of actually trading a potential future centrepiece, it really has to be the right time, and the right big league roster to justify such a thing. While I believe in the Blue Jays’ chances to return to the playoffs in 2018 with a few roster tweaks, I’m not sure that (excuse the expression) “selling the farm” is a great idea given the current state of the team. After a 76-86 season, they’re faced with a lot of question marks and counting on several bounce backs. If you’re going to trade someone like Bichette, you want it to bring in the “cherry on top” to a World Series team. I’m not sure the Blue Jays are there right now.
For what it’s worth, it doesn’t sound like Yelich is going to be made available after all according to ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick, which is just as well. The Miami outfielder is an extremely talented player, but counting on him to move the needle into playoff contention is asking a lot, and sacrificing Bichette would be a major blow to the future and the current minor league system.
I’m not opposed to dealing a premium prospect at the right time, or for the right player, but with all due respect to Yelich, now doesn’t feel like that time.
Update– According to Steve Phillips of TSN, the Marlins asked for both Bichette and Guerrero as a starting point in negotiations for Ozuna. So yeah, that wasn’t going to happen.