Blue Jays: Hey Ross? I’ve got a trade idea…

BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 04: Kendrys Morales
BOSTON, MA - SEPTEMBER 04: Kendrys Morales /

As we continue to wait for some news regarding the Blue Jays’ roster, here’s a trade idea that will probably never happen, but could work.

Another day, another 24 hours without a significant move by the Blue Jays’ front office, or really, by any GM in baseball. This has been the most painfully slow offseason since free agency began, and now that we’re into the new year, things have to start picking up a little bit, right?

On that note, I’ve got an idea that I’d like to run past the Blue Jays’ front office. It’s unconventional and everything, and the type of trade that almost never happens. I’m suggesting the Blue Jays pursue a trade within their own division.

As the Yankees and Red Sox look poised to dominate the division with their latest arms race, the other two teams, the Orioles and the Rays, have quietly started making plans for the future, The Rays have already traded away their face of the franchise, Evan Longoria, and the rumours persist around the Orioles doing the same with Manny Machado, who is set to be a free agent at the end of the upcoming campaign.

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The Rays are one team that has made a few moves already, and as I mentioned they’ve been done with an eye on the future. The Longoria trade brought back three minor leaguers, and a major league contract to help balance the books. That major league contract belongs to Denard Span, who I think the Blue Jays should target.

Now before you go all “he’s just a more expensive Zeke!” on me, hear me out, and remember that this is a baseless idea that I’ve come up with that will probably never happen.

Span is 33, and is coming off a season in which he batted .272/.339/.427 for the San Francisco Giants, adding 12 home runs, 43 RBI, and 12 stolen bases. He still displayed some abilities at the plate, but it was his defence in centre field that dragged his overall numbers down. He finished the year with a -1.1 bWAR rating, but that was significantly dragged down by a dWAR posting of -2.4. Simply put, he should no longer be playing centre field at the big league level. However, as a platoon partner in left field, he could be pretty serviceable.

His contract has one guaranteed season left at nine million dollars, carrying a cap hit of 11 million. He’s also got a 12 million dollar option for 2019, which includes a four million dollar buyout, essentially meaning that he’ll cost 13 million for the 2018 season. So why am I suggesting that the Blue Jays should inquire about him? Because the Rays won’t want to keep him on their roster, if they can avoid it.

That fact could mean one of two things, either the Rays could be willing to ship along a prospect or two in order to get someone else to take on Span’s contract, or the other scenario I’ve been thinking about for a few days: What if the Rays would take back Kendrys Morales in a Span trade?

Morales has two years and 22 million remaining on his current deal with the Blue Jays, and while I’m not as negative on his contributions as many Blue Jays fans, I can understand the motivation to trade him and open up at bats at the DH position. The problem is of course, that most teams are thinking along the same lines these days, and a DH-only player isn’t exactly a desirable commodity very often.

To me, the Rays represent one of the only teams that might be convinced to take on Morales’ contract, but of course that would require sending an equally undesirable contract out in any deal, which is where Span comes in. At the moment, the Rays have Corey Dickerson slated to be their DH, as he was in 2017. Dickerson is a capable outfielder as well though, as he played 93 games in left field last season. They’ve currently got Kevin Kiermaier, Steven Souza Jr., and Mallex Smith listed as their three starters in the outfield (and Span), so it might require another trade in order to make things work.

Morales does have an extra year on his contract compared to Span, however, with the right maneuvering I could see this one coming together. Whether that means the Blue Jays sent some money along, or a prospect or two in order to entice the Rays, this is a deal I could see actually happening, which would never have been the case if the Rays were planning on contending the way they have for the last decade.

Next: Can the bullpen repeat their 2017 success?

Of course, both GM’s could look at this proposal and laugh themselves out of their office chairs. Maybe it’s not as feasible as I’d like to think, but until we get some actual news then I’m sure I won’t be the only fan dreaming up possible scenarios.