As the Blue Jays continue to look for upgrades, there has been discussion about whether Vladimir Guerrero Jr. or Bo Bichette could be made available. While anything is possible, it would take a boatload of a return that’s hard to fathom coming together from either side.
As the hot stove continues to look like a rain-soaked campfire, the rumour mill continues to churn with ideas that may or may not have validity. For example, I have no doubt that the Blue Jays are among the teams that are in Christian Yelich, the Marlins’ talented outfielder that may be on the trade block as we speak. He checks off a ton of needs for the Blue Jays, and with the Marlins in the midst of a sell off, it’s very likely that Deter Jeter and company would bite at the right offer.
Which brings us to another discussion that has made it’s way around the rumour mill, whether or not the Blue Jays would trade one or both of Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette. In order to get someone like Yelich, it requires some of the best prospects an organization has to offer, and that’s why the names of the two wonder kids have been coming up with some regularity. Guerrero and Bichette are as exciting as any prospect the Blue Jays have ever had, with the former in particular being rated as the game’s best by a few outlets.
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It’s sparked a debate among Blue Jays fans, with Twitter becoming the playground for an argument about whether there’s a return worth sacrificing a future with the dynamic duo. Of course, one side rightly points out that prospects are never a guarantee, no matter how tantalizing they may seem in the minor leagues. The others point out that sacrificing a potential generational talent (or two), could be the kind of mistake that sets back the franchise for decades.
If you ask me, I can’t see a scenario where Ross Atkins and Mark Shapiro seriously consider trading either minor league star. Fortunately, Atkins was asked this question on the Fan 590 on Tuesday, and he summed up the feelings of the front office pretty clearly.
"“It would take a young, controllable player that we feel could be as talented or more as those two players.” – Ross Atkins"
This is the kind of statement that could throw more fuel on the fire of the debate, but I’ll throw my two cents into the fold here.
There will be a segment of the population that reads this statement and thinks, “that’s what Yelich is!”, and the truth is, that would be accurate to a certain degree. At 26, Yelich has already earned a Silver Slugger and a Gold Glove award, and he’s been worth 17.7 WAR over the course of his 4.5 seasons in the big leagues. He’s the real deal, under control control at a reasonable cost, and that type of player doesn’t come cheap in a trade.
But for the Blue Jays, this isn’t the time that the front office is looking at a full court press. Both Atkins and Shapiro have expressed displeasure with the way former GM Alex Anthopoulos traded away some of the top prospects in the system, and it would truly shock me if they were about to do the same thing. If they were, you would think they would be looking at corresponding moves to battle the AL East titans in the Yankees and Red Sox.
We haven’t seen that this offseason, as we’ve watched with frustration as Atkins and Shapiro have waited out the market like the rest of the league, resulting in just two significant additions thus far and one coming just a few days ago. Meanwhile there are big upgrades still available on the market like J.D. Martinez, Lorenzo Cain, Yu Darvish, Jake Arrieta, and many more, and the Blue Jays have only been loosely tied to them.
Honestly, if it were me then the list of players I would trade Guerrero and/or Bichette for would probably have about 5-6 names on it, and as talented as Yelich is, he wouldn’t be in that tier. Couple that with the fact that the Blue Jays don’t feel like they’re just one player away, and I don’t know that there’s a scenario that makes sense to trade the pair of sluggers.
If say, the Blue Jays were to go out and sign Darvish and Cain, then maybe it makes sense to put the cherry on top with a trade involving Bichette, but that’s not where we’re at. Also, beyond Yelich, how many talented, young and controllable players that resemble Atkins’ description are available? When you’re talking the kind of ceiling expected of Toronto’s top two prospects, the answer is none.
For those reasons and more, I can’t see there being any legs to these rumours, whether the Marlins have asked about their availability or not. As for what it would take to move Bichette or Guerrero, I don’t know the answer to that question, but my guess is it’s more than they’ll ever be offered.