It’s a shame that the August trade waiver season is no more, because the Blue Jays have a few prime candidates that would have garnered plenty of interest.
Baseball continues to evolve, not only in the way that the players approach the game, but also with rule changes.
We haven’t witnessed the use of robot plate umpires in the big leagues yet (although it’s probably coming some day), and thankfully we won’t see the best players in the world trying to steal first base any time soon (don’t laugh, it’s being tested out), but that doesn’t mean there haven’t been changes at the highest level. One of the biggest ones for 2019 was the elimination of the August trade waiver season of the calendar, and right now that’s a bit of a shame for the Blue Jays.
Ross Atkins and the rest of the front office did a lot of work in July, and perhaps they wouldn’t have made as many deals if they theoretically had another month to work with, but most of the heavy lifting was done. They traded Marcus Stroman to the Mets for Anthony Kay and Simeon Woods Richardson, Eric Sogard to the Rays for two players to be named later, and of course, the 3-1 swap with the Astros that sent out Aaron Sanchez, Joe Biagini, and Cal Stevenson to bring back Derek Fisher. They also sent Daniel Hudson to the Nationals, and David Phelps to the Cubs, so they were definitely busy.
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Even with all of that work done, the Blue Jays could still have trade candidates to work with if there was still an August trade season. It was a bit more complicated with players needing to clear waivers, but even at that, there are players that would have fit the mold in years past.
That has been even more obvious to me lately as I’ve watched a number of injuries happening to players on contending teams. For example, the Yankees have been bitten pretty hard by the injury bug again lately, and I’m sure they would be very interested in Justin Smoak if the opportunity presented itself. With Edwin Encarnacion breaking a bone in his wrist, and also potentially having Luke Voit on the shelf for the rest of the year, there’s an obvious fit there. It’s also possible that another team would have claimed him, even if it was just to block him from going to the Yankees.
Freddy Galvis is another candidate that could have made sense as an August trade target for contenders. He’s having an excellent year at the plate and brings above-average defence to the keystone, and would be a great boost for a contender. Someone like the Mets, who just lost Robinson Cano to a hamstring tear, would have been a great fit. Galvis could have also just provided an upgrade to a few clubs as well. To be fair, I also just wrote about how the Blue Jays could make it work if they choose to keep Galvis around as well.
And of course, we can’t forget about Ken Giles, who probably gets traded in July if he was fully healthy. My guess is he’ll be in that category before the month of August is out, and pretty much any contender would have been tempted to put a claim in for the fireballer. Whether or not they could have found a suitable return in august is another thing, but they definitely could have continued the discussions.
Given the injury situations with a few contenders, it’s also possible the Blue Jays could have shopped someone like Brandon Drury, or maybe even Teoscar Hernandez. The Braves just lost Nick Markakis to a significant injury, and I mean, the Yankees just can’t catch a break with more than just their first basemen. Aaron Hicks also hit the DL recently, C.C. Sabathia is having more knee troubles, and they’re still without other stars like Giancarlo Stanton and Luis Severino. Who knows if the Blue Jays would finally get the best of Brian Cashman in a trade, but we won’t get the chance to find out with the rule tweak this year.
All that said, I’m okay with the change, as it forced a few more teams to make early moves. That list could include the Blue Jays, and it’ll be a few years before we find out how they made out in the trades they did make. We’ll have to wait until the offseason to see what Atkins and company have planned next.