A blockbuster with the Cubs
A month or so ago, I wouldn’t have called this idea “feasible”, but a fair bit has changed since then. The Cubs traded Yu Darvish to the Padres in what was arguably a bit of a salary dump, and they’ve made other decisions that signal some sort of rebuild.
As for the Blue Jays, landing a premium free agent like George Springer gives them some new flexibility, and arguably one too many outfielders. As much as I want the Blue Jays to keep Lourdes Gurriel Jr. for at least the next five years, there’s a trade with the Cubs that I’d consider including him in.
If the Blue Jays could land both Kyle Hendricks and Kris Bryant, then I’d reluctantly pull the trigger on including Gurriel Jr.
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As great as Bryant would fit as the third baseman and another potentially lethal bat in the lineup, his expiring contract keeps him from being the centre piece here. That would be Hendricks, who has been a top-shelf starter for the Cubs for a long time, and remains under contract for three years and 42 million, with a vesting/club option for 2024 at 16 million. That’s the kind of contract control that the Blue Jays love, and at just 31, Hendricks should have plenty of prime innings left ini his right arm.
As for Bryant, he really would fit well for a number of reasons. The first being his obvious talent, but also the fact that he could be their regular third baseman, and/or shift to the outfield if the need came up. It wouldn’t hurt to give him a front row seat to what’s brewing in Toronto these days either, especially in advance of his spending free agency. He’s slated to make 19.5 million in the last year of his deal.
Their combine salaries would cost 33.5 million, and losing Gurriel Jr’s 3.5 million from the books would take it to an even 30. Lourdes alone wouldn’t be nearly enough to convince the Cubs, but I’d assume the rest of the package would centre around some of the Blue Jays’ talented minor league prospects. I won’t speculate on who that might be right now, but Atkins has plenty of trade chips if he decides to use them.
And with 17 million left, there would still be plenty of options left on the table. You could still make an offer to Tanaka or Paxton, maybe another option like Jake Odorizzi, or even bringing back Taijuan Walker. Or, they could further reinforce the bullpen and try to sign someone like Brad Hand. Despite the fact that we’re getting to the end of January, there are still options available.
As much as I dislike the idea of trading away Gurriel Jr., this fantasy idea is becoming more appealing to me all the time. It remains to be seen if the Cubs are going to take their rebuild that far at this early stage, but if they do, the Blue Jays should be ready to make a serious offer.
With plenty of talent still available on the free agent market, and the Blue Jays with money and trade chips, how would you like to see them finish off their offseason? Their are all kinds of routes they could go, and several that would make me happy even if they looked nothing like the three ideas I’ve laid out here. It’s a fun time to be a Blue Jays fan, and I can’t wait to get the 2021 campaign underway. How would you like to see them cap off the winter?