Blue Jays: Lots of tidbits around the Yelich trade
According to multiple reports, the Blue Jays were one of the other serious contenders for Christian Yelich, but ultimately balked at Miami’s asking price before an agreement with the Brewers was struck on Thursday.
The Miami Marlins made yet another trade this offseason, shipping disgruntled outfielder Christian Yelich to the Milwaukee Brewers in a pretty significant deal. With the Brewers also signing Lorenzo Cain on the same evening, they moved the needle pretty significantly on one fell swoop, and they’re probably not done yet either.
The interesting thing to note for Blue Jays fans was that Ross Atkins and Mark Shapiro were clearly involved in trade discussions, and according to a few reports they were the “other” serious suitor for Yelich.
We’ve talked at length at the Jays Journal about what a Yelich acquisition cost might be, and whether or not giving up someone like Vladimir Guerrero or Bo Bichette was even a consideration. There were more talks about Bichette being a possibility, as it’s seemed all along that Guerrero was untouchable and it looks like that was ultimately the case.
There was an argument to be made for giving up one of the two kids is a big trade for Yelich, as he is a well-rounded star who is just 26 years old, has up to five years of contract control, and is very affordable. He’s a proven commodity, and while Guerrero Jr. and Bichette both represent huge upside youngsters, there is something to the whole potential of prospects becoming a bust. The Blue Jays have a long list of players who were supposed to be stars, so I understand the argument.
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In this case though, the Blue Jays would be borderline mad to give up on Vlad Guerrero Jr, who was just issued the first ever 80 as a hit tool rating, and he’s still just 18 years old. Ranked as the #3 prospect by Baseball America, his stock couldn’t be a lot higher than it is for someone who can’t even purchase liquor yet.
He’s as close to a slam dunk prospect as it gets and considering his father was just announced as a Hall of Fame inductee, it would have taken the moon to pry him away from the Blue Jays. Bichette is a nearly equally impressive prospect, only he’s overshadowed by the presence of his teammate. That said, he was rated at #8 by Baseball America as well, giving the Blue Jays their first pair of top 10 prospects.
That they didn’t want to sacrifice the long term future they’re building for a short term boost makes total sense, and while I would have liked to watch Yelich in Toronto, I’m fully in support of holding on to the two kids in this case. It is interesting that things got so close though, so you have to wonder which names the Blue Jays were willing to include. According to Sirius XM’s Craig Mish mentioned that the Blue Jays refused to include Guerrero Jr, and that the Blue Jays were still one of the finalists.
Perhaps they were only got that close because the Marlins ultimately hoped they would change their mind, and who knows what the “several variations” could have included. Perhaps the Blue Jays wanted to dump a contract on Miami, or wanted to expand the deal to include other veterans. We’ll likely never know the full details of the talks that took place.
For what it’s worth, I think the Blue Jays did very well in acquiring Randal Grichuk for Dominic Leone and Conner Greene. While he’s not the proven commodity that Yelich represents, he’s got a tremendous upside, is very affordable, under control for three years, and didn’t require giving up some of the best assets in the organization.
If the Blue Jays were in a different place in terms of their chances of winning a World Series title in 2018, maybe you consider moving one of the dynamic duo of youngsters. At this juncture, I’m glad Atkins and Shapiro wouldn’t budge and are coming up with creative solutions like Grichuk, Yangervis Solarte and Aledmys Diaz. While their work isn’t complete, so far it’s been quietly impressive.
Sometimes the best moves are the ones you don’t make, and in this case I’d have to say the Blue Jays’ brass did the right thing.