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Blue Jays: It’s not too early to start exploring trades

DETROIT, MI - JUNE 3: Curtis Granderson #18 of the Toronto Blue Jays celebrates a win over the Detroit Tigers with his teammates at Comerica Park on June 3, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. Toronto defeated Detroit 8-4. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images)
DETROIT, MI - JUNE 3: Curtis Granderson #18 of the Toronto Blue Jays celebrates a win over the Detroit Tigers with his teammates at Comerica Park on June 3, 2018 in Detroit, Michigan. Toronto defeated Detroit 8-4. (Photo by Leon Halip/Getty Images) /
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While we’re not even into the second full week of June yet, the Blue Jays would be wise to start looking at trade options in advance of July’s deadline.

Another series, another sweep that the Blue Jays were on the wrong end of. At least this time it was just a two game series, but the Jays lost an important opportunity to turn things around at home against the Bronx Bombers. Catching the Yankees in the AL East standings might be an extreme long shot, but beating them when they badly needed a win could have been a huge lift.

Unfortunately things are really starting to get bad for the Blue Jays, as they were only a 2.5% chance at qualifying the postseason before last night’s loss, and things are getting more bleak by the day.

Many people will tell you that you can’t give up on a season this early, and truthfully that’s the article I started out to write for you today. However, the more I looked at how the Blue Jays were doing on June 7th in previous seasons, the more this one felt like a pretty lost cause, even if I’m an eternal optimist. I’m not going to stop watching or cheering, but sometimes you have to accept what’s in front of your eyes and start to adjust for the future. After all, the definitely of insanity is repeating your mistakes and expecting a different result.

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Now that the MLB draft is over, front offices can start to shift their focus toward their own organizations, and start to really evaluate how this season is going. We’re past the one third mark of the calendar, so things should be starting to fall into place around the league. Unfortunately for the Blue Jays, that’s found them 11 games back of the second Wild Card spot already, with all but the Orioles, White Sox, Royals, and Rangers to leapfrog into playoff position as well.

While this season has been a complete disappointment, it’s still hard to believe that things have been this bad when you look at the roster on paper. Sure, injuries have played a big part in the struggles, but that doesn’t excuse the truly putrid offensive output we’ve witnessed lately, or the performance from the rotation as a whole on the season.

However, when you look at this struggling roster on paper, there has to be some players that would at least seem enticing to rival GMs looking to beef up their own teams before the playoff push. There are obviously choices like Josh Donaldson and J.A. Happ, and chances are they’ll go closer to the deadline if they’re traded at all, but there are several other useable pieces the Blue Jays could shop, and they should start to do that now if they haven’t already. I’ll have a more in-depth look at who those names could be for tomorrow’s schedule, but the list of possibilities isn’t exactly short.

It can be difficult to pull off trades in early June, but we witnessed the first significant move of the season on Wednesday night. The Arizona Diamondbacks acquired Jon Jay from the Kansas City Royals in exchange for two minor league arms, the type of deal the Blue Jays could be looking at with a few of their veterans as well. Jon is a well-travelled outfielder who is no stranger to a new uniform, and he’ll give the Diamondbacks a small, cost-effective boost. The Royals, being one of the few teams below the Blue Jays in the standings, have seemingly accepted their fate for this year, as they should given their current record.

The Blue Jays could provide the same type of thing in a smaller trade for a few teams around the league, and at a minimal personal cost to their own ambitions. For example, if they dealt an outfielder on an expiring contract like Curtis Granderson or Steve Pearce (if he ever gets healthy), would they be that much worse off without them in June than they would be in late July? With a stable of major league ready outfielders in Buffalo, there’s no reason to wait.

The fact is, this team needs some sort of spark to get it going, and bringing in some young blood to receive regular playing time in the absence of a traded veteran can’t be any worse than what we’ve watched recently. It may also give the Blue Jays a chance to see once and for all what they have in guys like Dwight Smith Jr., Dalton Pompey, or others, especially as they shift toward the next generation.

While I’m not one to give up until things are truly over, I see no harm in moving on from what hasn’t been working for the last year and a half, and putting the wheels in motion now. Typically the real trade action doesn’t start until July, but in the case of the Blue Jays, who are 16.5 back in the AL East, starting the dialogue now, as the Royals have already done, is probably for the best. Even if I hate to admit it.

Next: The case for sticking with John Gibbons as the manager

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