Bold Prediction #3
Blue Jays send a starter to the Yankees for the second straight year, as Stroman stays in the division.
I’ve never been a fan of the idea of trading players within your own division, but that could be the smartest play for the Blue Jays for the second consecutive year.
After acquiring Brandon Drury and Billy McKinney from the Yankees for J.A. Happ last year, the Bronx Bombers are once again looking for help in their rotation and the Blue Jays should have one of the top options on the market. If they end up sending Marcus Stroman to the Yankees then they’ll need to get a much better return this time around.
The fit with the Yankees works well for a couple of reasons, even as a division rival. First, Stroman’s contract runs out at the end of next season, and while I’m incredibly high on the future of this young group, I don’t know that 2020 is going to be a realistic goal for knocking off the Yankees, with or without Stroman.
Secondly, the Yankees’ top prospects fit well with the needs for the Blue Jays right now. Out of their top ten prospects according to MLB.com, the Yankees’ list includes six pitchers and three outfielders. The only problem is they may not have a high enough ceiling, as Estevan Florial (OF) was the highest-ranked prospect at #74, and Jonathan Loaisiga started the year at #75 on the MLB list.
For that reason I wouldn’t rule out the Padres, and especially not the Atlanta Braves, as something tells me that Alex Anthopoulos is laying in the weeds waiting to see what kind of value his former starter will command.
Bold Prediction #4
Julian Merryweather will join the team in August, he will make some starts and then be moved to the bullpen where he will put up great numbers.
Julian Merryweather, the right-hander acquired in exchange for Josh Donaldson last August, is quite an intriguing arm who the Blue Jays general manager, Ross Atkins, has high hopes on, saying, “We see him as a near-term prospect we can feel can impact our major-league team in a significant way”.
There are reasons to believe Atkins just said this to inject some hope in the mindset of the fans after trading away one of the best players the Blue Jays have had in their history. However, there are also reasons to believe Merryweather, a 27-year-old from Berkeley, California, can contribute at the big league level.
Merryweather missed all of 2018 after having Tommy John surgery and made his 2019 debut with the Bluefield Blue Jays of the rookie-level Gulf Coast League back in June throwing two innings. He also threw four innings with the Dunedin Blue Jays on June 29th. A return might be looming for Merryweather as he’ll start climbing up the minor league levels to get his arm back in form. He’ll spend some time in Triple-A Buffalo, but the prediction is that he will join the big league team at some point in August.
He will make a couple of starts or so and then be part of the bullpen where he will put up good numbers to finish the 2019 season as an important piece of the bullpen. His fastball that can reach 97 mph and his curveball and slider could really play well down in the bullpen. Realistically, that’s probably where Ross Atkins envisions him impacting the major-league team in a significant way, as he said back in 2018. With Ken Giles and Daniel Hudson possibly getting traded in the coming weeks, do not rule out Merryweather gets a shot as a closer in September.