Kansas City- Ian Kennedy or Alex Gordon
This one is a little different than the situation with the Nationals, as the Royals are in the midst of a rebuild of their own. That said, teams that aren’t planning on competing are generally interested in shedding expensive veteran contracts, so it could be worth a call as well.
The Royals finished in the basement of the AL Central last season, winning just 58 games and staring up at a long rebuild in their division. The situation the Blue Jays are facing in the AL East isn’t a whole lot easier, but there are a couple of notable differences here.
First, the Royals do not have the high-ranked minor league system that the Blue Jays can look forward to, and are facing a longer rebuild than what’s expected in Toronto. As a result, they don’t have a stacked minor league system to deal from, and they may be reluctant to move any significant assets they do have, but that doesn’t mean a deal can’t be found.
Secondly, while Blue Jays fans like to complain about the lack of spending in a big market like Toronto, it’s much worse in Kansas City. They built a winner on a relatively small budget in the past, but they do have a couple of expensive veterans leftover from the glory days.
Ian Kennedy could be a useful piece for the Blue Jays next season, even if it’s just in the form of eating some innings as a veteran arm in the rotation. The Royals could find the same use for him, but I doubt they want to pay him 16.5 million to do it, a figure he’s actually due in 2020 as well. The Blue Jays wouldn’t jump for joy at the idea of taking on that contract either, but if a decent prospect or two was attached, there’s some incentive to explore. They could use a capable veteran or two to help guide their budding young rotation pieces, especially if they consider trading Marcus Stroman or Aaron Sanchez in the next couple of seasons. In the big picture, it could make some sense.
There’s also Alex Gordon, who is due 20 million in 2019 on the final season of his current deal with the Royals. There is also a 23 million dollar option for 2020 that carries a four million dollar buyout, so the total the Blue Jays would be taking on would be at least 24 million, assuming they would turn down the option. While there isn’t the same need in the outfield, he’s another veteran contract I’m sure the Royals would be happy to shed, and the Blue Jays could certainly make use of him for one year if the circumstances were right.
It’s not a perfect fit by any means, especially because the Royals are rebuilding too, but stranger things have happened on the trade market.