Blue Jays Trade Deadline Preview: Curtis Granderson

ST PETERSBURG, FL - JUNE 13: Curtis Granderson #18 of the Toronto Blue Jays hits a single in the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays on June 13, 2018 at Tropicana Field in St Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images)
ST PETERSBURG, FL - JUNE 13: Curtis Granderson #18 of the Toronto Blue Jays hits a single in the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays on June 13, 2018 at Tropicana Field in St Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /

The Blue Jays signed Curtis Granderson this past offseason to a very affordable, one year, five million dollar contract. He should make for an easy sell at the trade deadline to a contender looking for a modest upgrade.

The Blue Jays dropped another game to Tampa Bay at Tropicana Field, and this one completed the sweep for the Rays. It brings the Blue Jays record to 30-38, and drops them to 13 games out of the second Wild Card position.

Not only are the Blue Jays playing some pretty terrible baseball right now, but the playoff landscape in the American League is a lot different than it was in 2017. While the Blue Jays never left the basement of the AL East until the final day of last season, they weren’t really out of the Wild Card race until the later stages of the summer. As far as this season goes, you could make a solid argument that the nail is in the coffin already.

With the 2nd Wild Card spot currently on pace to win 102 games this season the Blue Jays’ hopes of making the playoffs are pretty much shot at this point. Yes, it’s still technically possible, but unless some miracle production begins, and like yesterday, their goose is pretty much cooked, which is crazy since it’s just the middle of June.

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With that in mind, the front office will undoubtedly turn their focus to the future, and that task could be easy interesting one, especially with the make up of this current roster. There are several players on expiring contracts including Josh Donaldson, J.A. Happ, Marco Estrada, Steve Pearce, and more who’ve been around for a few years.

There were also a few new faces brought in this winter on one year contracts, and the most notable of which might be Curtis Granderson. The Grandy-man has fit in wonderfully in Toronto, and has given them more production than they maybe expected from the 37 year old, especially early on in the season. He’s cooled off more recently, but he’s showed that there is some life left in his bat and his legs, especially after a poor showing with the Dodgers after last year’s trade deadline.

Granderson won’t have a long list of suitors when the trade season really opens up, but there’s a good chance that one or more rival GM’s could be interested in his services. He still hits well against righties, can play acceptable defence, and adds a true character voice of veteran leadership to the clubhouse. He wouldn’t come in and take over wherever he landed, but he would be a great mentor for the other players in the clubhouse, especially the youngsters. We’ve seen him do the the same in his few short months with the Blue Jays, and there’s little doubt that would continue elsewhere. His genuinely nice personality shines through, and that’s what makes him one of the most well liked players in the game.

If we’re going to preview what the Blue Jays might be able to get in return for him, the best trade comparison might be the deal he was involved in last year when he went from the Mets to the Dodgers. Granderson and a bit of cash went to the Dodgers in exchange for a minor league pitcher name Jacob Rhame. Rhame made his way to the big leagues with the Mets this year, but has a 5.84 ERA in his 12 appearances and 12.1 innings of work so far.

If and when the Blue Jays sent Granderson to a contender this summer, there’s a good chance that they’ll get a similar “wild card” package back. Rhame wasn’t exactly a household name as a prospect, but is obviously good enough to earn his way to the big leagues. If the Blue Jays can add another bullpen arm or even a low-level starter to the mix for 2019, that’s not the worst thing they can do with a veteran on an expiring contract.

Moving Granderson would also make some playing time later in the year for guys like Anthony Alford, Dalton Pompey, Dwight Smith Jr. and maybe more. Giving them each more major league experience and/or another audition is the likely course of action for a team out of the race, and they’ll also be making regular playing time for Kevin Pillar, Teoscar Hernandez, and Randal Grichuk too.

By the same argument, there could be value in keeping the respected veteran around to mentor some of those younger players, especially depending on who might be called up by the time September rolls around. At any rate, expect there to be a lot of trade rumours surrounding the Blue Jays over the next six or seven weeks, and Granderson’s name to be one of the ones banded about.

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