Blue Jays: Why trading Justin Smoak may be harder than it should be

TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 20: Justin Smoak #14 of the Toronto Blue Jays watches as he hits a game-winning solo home run in the ninth inning during MLB game action against the Tampa Bay Rays at Rogers Centre on September 20, 2018 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 20: Justin Smoak #14 of the Toronto Blue Jays watches as he hits a game-winning solo home run in the ninth inning during MLB game action against the Tampa Bay Rays at Rogers Centre on September 20, 2018 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /
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NEW YORK, NEW YORK – APRIL 17: Gleyber Torres #25 of the New York Yankees reacts as he is tagged out by Christian Vazquez #7 of the Boston Red Sox to end the first inning at Yankee Stadium on April 17, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK – APRIL 17: Gleyber Torres #25 of the New York Yankees reacts as he is tagged out by Christian Vazquez #7 of the Boston Red Sox to end the first inning at Yankee Stadium on April 17, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images) /

If you look at the standings as of this writing (Saturday evening, prior to the games being finished for the night), the playoff contenders include the following:

American League

New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Houston Astros, Tampa Bay Rays, Minnesota Twins, Cleveland Indians, Oakland A’s, Los Angeles Angels, and (maybe) the Texas Rangers.

If look at the rosters of those teams, I don’t know that any of them are going to be willing to overpay for someone like Smoak. The Yankees have Luke Voit, the Red Sox have Mitch Moreland and Steve Pearce, the Rays have Ji-Man Choi, the Twins have Marwin Gonzalez and C.J. Cron, Cleveland has Carlos Santana, the Astros have Yuli Gurriel and Tyler White, Oakland has Matt Olson, and the Angels have Albert Pujols.

I’ll concede that it’s possible that the Astros would consider adding Smoak and using Gurriel elsewhere, as he can move around the diamond. That said, I don’t think it’s likely. Just as I don’t think it’s likely that the Rays, who could use Smoak, will make a deal within the division. I also don’t I think the Angels will bench Pujols, or that the Rangers will be in the playoff race a month from now.

Now, injuries can change everything, and that has been blatantly obvious with the Yankees this season. Any of the above-mentioned teams could find themselves in need of a player like Smoak if they are hit with a key injury in the next two months, but as things stand right now I feel like it’s hard to find a fit.

Possible fits: Rays, Astros, Rangers, Angels

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