Blue Jays: Think bigger if Lourdes Gurriel Jr. is a trade candidate
Apparently Cleveland is a big fan of Lourdes Gurriel Jr. and would love to talk trade with the Blue Jays. That’s fine under certain conditions.
While we wait for the Blue Jays to make their next move to improve their roster this offseason, the rumours continue to swirl.
On Sunday, Twitter was buzzing a bit with the rumour that Cleveland would be happy to draw the Blue Jays into trade talks for their superstar shortstop Francisco Lindor, and they’d like the return package to start with Lourdes Gurriel Jr, as reported by www.cleveland.com’s Terry Pluto.
You can’t blame Cleveland for their interest in Gurriel Jr. They’ve long had a huge need in their outfield, and the 27 year old slugger is under team control for four more years, with his contract paying him a measly 13.5 million over the next three seasons, following by a final year of arbitration eligibility before he becomes a free agent. That kind of contract paired with his talent would make him a fit anywhere.
More from Jays Journal
- Matt Chapman has been exactly what the Blue Jays needed
- Blue Jays: The goalposts are moving in the right direction
- Single-A Dunedin Blue Jays advance to the Championship Series
- Blue Jays: Comparisons for Alek Manoah’s Second Season
- Blue Jays: Adam Cimber, the unlikely decision King
Which is one of many reasons the Blue Jays should think bigger if they’re actually considering trading Gurriel Jr.
I understand that Cleveland isn’t going to give Lindor away, but there should be a limit to what the Blue Jays or anyone else is willing to pay for him. The fact is, he’s on an expiring contract at the moment, and is scheduled to hit free agency a year from now. While I do think the Blue Jays have a great chance to compete for a postseason spot in 2021, I don’t think now is the time to pay big for a one-year rental, and I’m sure that Ross Atkins and company feel the same way.
That would change if the Blue Jays could have extension talks with Lindor before making a trade official, but the chances of that happening and a deal being agreed to are extremely slim. That doesn’t mean that they have to give up on the Lindor idea entirely, but I’d rather see the idea tweaked in a different way. Why not expand the deal a bit?
In order to evaluate the trade I turned to www.baseballtradevalues.com to see if there could be a fit. Obviously you could tweak the Blue Jays’ side of things a bit, but here’s what I came up with.
Toronto gets: (41.1)
- Francisco Lindor (36.2)
- Carlos Carrasco (4.9)
Cleveland gets: (43.6)
- Lourdes Gurriel Jr. (26.3)
- Gabriel Moreno (14.0)
- CJ Van Eyk (3.3)
For those who have never visited baseball trade values, they’ve come up with a formula for the value of each player based on their production, contract, and future prospects. As you can see above, as one of the top-10 players in baseball, Lindor still has a lot of value even on an expiring deal. However, as a reference point for a talented young player with a lot of contract control, Bo Bichette’s rating is 104.7.
*Note- forgive the above typo. How I long for an edit button on Twitter some days.*
In this potential swap the Blue Jays would be giving up a premium, but it would make a lot more sense to me. They’d get Lindor, and also acquire a starting pitcher who could slot into the #2 spot in the rotation behind Hyun Jin Ryu. Carrasco is not quite of the ace calibre, but he’s very good and has three years of contract control remaining with his club/vesting options. Adding an arm like his to the rotation would be a huge get, and may even have an impact on the likelihood of Lindor sticking around.
I still don’t like the idea of giving up Gurriel Jr., but you have to give value in order to receive it, and it wouldn’t stop at the young slugger. The Blue Jays have five catchers on their 40-man roster at the moment, and one of them will be traded this winter. They’re said to be high on Moreno, but he should carry some solid trade value too. And to round things out I chose Van Eyk, who the Blue Jays selected in the 2nd round of this past year’s draft.
In an ideal world the Blue Jays would still be able to extend Lindor before making a trade of this magnitude, but taking a risk feels a lot more palatable if Carrasco was part of the deal as well, especially if Cleveland insists on Gurriel Jr. being involved.
There are a lot of moving parts to the idea, but I think that’s what it’s going to take in order to make a Lindor-Gurriel Jr. swap make any sense. We’ll see if there ends of being any traction to these rumours, but if the Blue Jays are going to trade Gurriel Jr., it had better be for more than gambling that Lindor will stick around beyond 2021.