Blue Jays positioning themselves for a trade this month?

TORONTO, ON - APRIL 02: General manager Ross Atkins of the Toronto Blue Jays addresses the media after completing a trade earlier in the day that sent Kevin Pillar #11 to the San Francisco Giants during MLB game action against the Baltimore Orioles at Rogers Centre on April 2, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - APRIL 02: General manager Ross Atkins of the Toronto Blue Jays addresses the media after completing a trade earlier in the day that sent Kevin Pillar #11 to the San Francisco Giants during MLB game action against the Baltimore Orioles at Rogers Centre on April 2, 2019 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /
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With the trade deadline just over two weeks away, the Blue Jays may be looking to make a move to improve the organization, even with more difficult rules.

It’s hard to believe that the MLB trade deadline is already on the short-term radar, and it looks like the Blue Jays might be positioning themselves to make a trade.

It will be a lot more complicated to pull off a move during the season, as there are new rules around the trade deadline this year. Of course, the deadline was moved back from the end of July to August 31, which was obviously necessary with the season starting on July 27th this year. The other big change is that a player must be on the 60-man player pool list in order to be eligible to be traded.

With that in mind, it will be a lot more difficult for teams to come up with a trade package, especially because they can’t use the minor league system in the same way that GM’s typically would. That said, with some creative roster management and plenty of planning, it could still be done. To that end, the Blue Jays may have tipped their hand about potential plans.

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I say that because they added Gabriel Moreno to the 60-man player pool on Saturday. According to MLB.com, Moreno is listed as the #8 prospect in the Blue Jays organization behind the likes of Nate Pearson (for now), Austin Martin, and a handful of others.

The 20-year-old catcher would typically be the type of prospect that teams would be very reluctant to let go of, but the Blue Jays are in an enviable position with their depth behind the plate. Danny Jansen and Reese McGuire have just 201 MLB games between them, and the Blue Jays have two other catchers among their top 30 prospects. That would be Alejandro Kirk at #6, and Riley Adams at #28.

That depth could allow the Blue Jays to entertain several trade ideas, and Moreno should draw all kinds of interest if he were made available. The problem of course, is that Ross Atkins and the front office would have a limited player pool to choose from as far as targets. It might not be hard to choose a central player as the main piece of a trade package, but without the ability to add minor leaguers from throughout the organization, it’s a lot more complicated.

All that being said, adding Moreno to the player pool doesn’t mean that the Blue Jays intend to shop him. It could simply be a case of taking advantage of the opportunity for a premium young prospect, allowing him to work out with organization mates, and hopefully benefitting from the time spent. It could also mean that the Blue Jays might trade another one of their catchers, as all four of Jansen, McGuire, Kirk, and Adams are among the 60-man player pool, as is veteran Caleb Joseph.

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If I had to guess, my assumption is that Atkins and company are leaving their options open by adding Moreno to the 60-man, and doing what they can to help the premium prospect development during a lost season. I don’t actually expect them to trade Moreno in August, or any other catcher for that matter, but if the right deals lands in their laps, they should be ready.

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