Other than Yangervis Solarte, to me the most likely veteran to get traded this winter Kevin Pillar. That said, he also fits the description of “selling low” if they were to move on him now.
The Blue Jays may decide they can make a change because of the other depth options they’ve got on their 40 man roster, and coming in their minor league system. Randal Grichuk established himself as a full-time outfielder, and both Billy McKinney and Teoscar Hernandez are going to get a shot next season to show what their long term value could be. There are also plenty of depth options in their minor league system, so the Blue Jays aren’t lacking for replacements.
The difference between Pillar and the rest of the players I’ve listed above is, unfortunately, I don’t know that there’s a lot of reason to believe he’ll improve in 2019. We’ve all been waiting for an offensive breakout from him for years, and unfortunately it’s just happened. In fact, this past season was his worst on offence as a full-time player, as he slashed just .252/.282/.426.
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Perhaps more discouraging, his defensive numbers regressed from the “Superman” that made spectacular catches seem pretty routine at the Rogers Centre. According to baseballreference.com, he was worth 2.7, 2.8, and 1.9 dWAR over the last three seasons, before coming in at a mark of just 0.3 this past year. The fact that he’s getting a little more expensive as he’s further along in arbitration doesn’t help either.
He’ll be 30 next season, and while I’ve long been an admirer of his blue collar presence on the diamond, I’m not sure it’s enough anymore. If I believed that the long awaited offensive breakout was still coming, I’d absolutely advocate for keeping him around for another year before looking for a trade. However, in this case I would likely make the move for the sake of making room for higher ceiling players that are ready for the highest level, even if it’s too bad that he never quite achieved the potential so many of us saw in him at times.
I really do believe the Blue Jays will be active in the trade market this offseason, even if they aren’t able to move all of the contracts that the front office may want to. In the case of the players we’ve discussed here though, I believe patience will be a virtue for Ross Atkins, and hopefully things will look a lot different by next summer.