While the Blue Jays do have a few talented young arms, there is definitely more talent on the offensive side in the ball in the minor leagues. With that in mind, the front office should focus on acquiring young pitching in advance of the trade deadline.
When you get drawn into a conversation about the future of the Blue Jays, most of the time it’s the same names that come up. Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, Cavan Biggio, Lourdes Gurriel, Danny Jansen, and more, and that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
There are a lot of talented youngsters making waves in the Blue Jays system, which makes for an exciting future to think about for Canada’s only MLB team. However, if there’s one unfortunate thing about the talent, it’s that the majority of it resides on the offensive side.
Don’t get me wrong, I think there are arms to be excited about and that could be future building blocks for this rotation. Ryan Borucki has looked great in his short major league stint, and Sam Gaviglio has proven to be worth far more than almost anyone expected. There are others in the minor league system as well, guys like Sean Reid-Foley, Jordan Romano, Thomas Pannone, and younger arms like young phenom Eric Pardinho, or Nate Pearson.
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There may not be a ton of top draft picks when it comes to the arms of the organization, but there is some talent there. However, the Blue Jays could certainly stand to use more of it, just as any organization can, let alone one on the cusp of a rebuild.
I’m generally on the side of a “acquiring the best player available” philosophy, both in the draft and in the trade market. However, in the case of the Blue Jays I really feel like there has to be a lean toward acquiring more pitching depth. While there have been some great early returns on the draft picks of the last couple of years, it’s been very position player heavy. That could change in the coming drafts as Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins continue to build their roster, but for now things are pretty one sided, even with the encouraging performances of the names mentioned above, and plenty more.
For example, it’s widely known that the Yankees are interested in upgrading their starting rotation, and even have interest in J.A. Happ. They have a reasonably valuable young outfielder in Clint Frazier that they can use as trade bait, and there’s a good chance he could be in a new uniform by the end of the month. While I’m not against the Blue Jays being able to acquire a player as talented as Frazier in a trade for Happ, I’d much rather see the organization’s top trade asset used to bring back some pitching. Frazier has the talent for a potentially bright future as a big league outfielder, but the Blue Jays have quite a few of their own with a lot of upside, and I’m not so sure the focus should be at that position.
The trade market is a very fluid thing, and there’s a good chance we’ll see the Blue Jays strike another deal in the coming days, whether it’s with Happ or another veteran. I’ll ultimately be pleased with any trade that brings in valuable minor league depth, but I really do hope the priority is put on the pitching staff. In a future that likely won’t include the likes of Happ, Marco Estrada, or Jaime Garcia, there are going to be opportunities in the rotation, and in the bullpen.