Blue Jays should be shopping an infielder before the trade deadline
With the plethora of talented infielders in the minor league system, the Blue Jays should consider shopping either Devon Travis or Yangervis Solarte as they kick into a rebuild with this roster.
Now that the All-Star break has come and gone, the Blue Jays and the rest of baseball will kick back into high gear when it comes to trade rumours and discussion. In fact, it looks like a blockbuster was finished off over the break, with Manny Machado heading from the Baltimore Orioles to the Los Angeles Dodgers in exchange for a package of prospects.
For the Blue Jays, they did strike once so far, sending Steve Peace to the Red Sox a few weeks back. The expectation is that they’ll be among the busier sellers in advance of the July 31st trade deadline, especially since they have a few useful veterans on expiring contracts like J.A. Happ, Curtis Granderson and others.
If the front office decides to expand their trade block beyond those that are on expiring deals, I think there’s a solid argument that Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins should be shopping an infielder. If I’m going to be more specific, and I don’t like saying it in either case, I would likely be shopping one or both of Devon Travis and Yangervis Solarte.
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It’s not that either player couldn’t fit in with the short, or even long term plans for the Blue Jays. It’s more about how many talented infielders are in the Blue Jays’ system, and how best to approach a potential rebuild that has basically already begun. The organization has utilized guys like Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and Richard Urena, and there’s a good chance that the former could stick with the team for the long term once a permanent position opens up.
There’s also Aledmys Diaz, who is actually under club control until after the 2022 season, and of course the perpetually injured Troy Tulowitzki, who has two years remaining on his deal if he can ever get back on the field. If there ever came a time when everyone was healthy it would actually be a bit of a “problem” finding playing time for everyone, but that obviously hasn’t been an issue thus far.
Then there is the next generation coming in the minor league system, and they could be here sooner than we think. Shortstop/Second baseman, Bo Bichette, just moved up to #5 on the Baseball America prospect rankings, joining Vladimir Guerrero Jr. as a future dynamic duo in Toronto. Others have taken big steps this year as well, including Cavan Biggio and Kevin Smith, and there are other talents like last year’s first round pick, Logan Warmoth. They also took a shortstop with their first pick in this year’s draft by the name of Jordan Groshans, who could be the type to rise quickly through their system.
As they Blue Jays go through their rebuild or re-tool, or whatever you want to call it, they should have enough depth in their infield to keep a competitive product on the field, even if they choose to deal someone like Travis, Solarte, or even Diaz. It’s not a situation where they should be given away for anything less than good value, but if the opportunity to make a decent trade comes along, it’s something to consider. For example, the Red Sox still don’t really know what’s going on with Dustin Pedroia‘s knee, and might be interested in one of the Blue Jays’ infielders. That scenario may be tougher to swallow, but there could be interested buyers.
Next: Mid Term Report Card: Starting Pitching
With guys like Josh Donaldson and Marco Estrada on the sidelines dealing with injuries, the Blue Jays might not be the busy sellers we once thought they would be. However, they could still end up as very busy sellers, depending on how they want to go about a longer term build. The opportunity to move an infielder could be one of those variables, whether it happens in the next couple of weeks or during the upcoming offseason.