Blue Jays: Non-tendering Devon Travis would be a mistake
MLB trade rumors has Devon Travis listed as a non-tender candidate for the Blue Jays this offseason. Making that decision would be a short-sighted mistake.
The winds of change are definitely blowing in Toronto as the team embarks on a rebuild, but that doesn’t mean absolutely everything is going to be different. You can fully expect that Ross Atkins and the Blue Jays front office might try to move veterans like Russell Martin, Kevin Pillar, or others, but one way or another there will be plenty of holdovers in 2019. Things will change, but it won’t be everything, and it won’t be right away.
One of the players leftover from the 2015-16 playoff runs is Devon Travis, who is entering his 5th season as a pro, and he’s no doubt hoping to build off of what was finally a healthy season in 2018. His numbers were a little disappointing with a slash line of .232/.275/.381, but he played in a career high 103 games, and also suited up for several more in Triple-A when he was demoted earlier in the season. For the injury riddled infielder, that was a major step in the right direction.
However, according to www.mlbtraderumors.com, Travis is listed as a possible non-tender candidate for the Blue Jays this offseason. They mention that he’s expected to receive a raise up to 2.4 million dollars for next year, so he’s starting to get away from a potential bottom dollar bargain. However, I think the Blue Jays would be foolish to actually consider him a non-tender candidate at this point.
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I get it, the Jays have a ton of infield depth, and it’s going to be tough to find Travis regular playing time. They’re expected to have a loaded depth chart in the middle infield that could include Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Troy Tulowitzki, Aledmys Diaz, Brandon Drury, and possibly Yangervis Solarte, although it looks like he’ll be non-tendered.
They could use some of those players are third base, but once Vladimir Guerrero Jr. arrives at the highest level he’s going to get everyday at bats at the hot corner. I didn’t even mention other feasible options like Richard Urena, or eventually the likes of Bo Bichette and Cavan Biggio, who could both push for a big league roster spot in 2019.
Still, even though Travis doesn’t really have an everyday position to go to in Toronto next season, it seems like a short-cited decision to just let him go for nothing. He’s had his injury battles throughout his career, but he’s displayed the ability to hit around .300 when he’s healthy and consistently in the lineup (with the exception of last year), and his defence has been at least acceptable up the middle. A year or two ago people were talking about him as a potential building block for the future, now he’s not worth rostering?
There’s also the fact that the Blue Jays aren’t exactly hurting for payroll space, and the idea that they need to cut him because his salary is increasing seems ridiculous to me as well. Maybe that has nothing to do with it, but 2.4 million doesn’t seem like enough to scare off another team that believes he’s still a starting calibre second baseman.
It might be hard to find a trade partner, but I have a hard time believing that his stock has fallen so low that he’s a real non-tender candidate at this stage of his career. Maybe he’s not worth what he once was on the trade market, but at just 27 years old and on a relatively inexpensive contract, it’s worth finding out, even if it means he sticks around for a few months.