Blue Jays: Examining potential starting pitching trade targets
Toronto Blue Jays Acquire:
LHP Sean Manaea (12.0)
Oakland Athletics Acquire:
SS Rikelvin de Castro (3.6)
LHP Anthony Kay (2.7)
RHP Trent Thornton (6.1)
A trade partner the Toronto Blue Jays are very accustomed to dealing with, the Oakland Athletics are a small market team that has a history of dealing players away in their arbitration years for prospect talent in order to save money, while still be considered competitive.
In this deal, the Athletics would be sending one of their top arms in Sean Manaea to the Blue Jays in exchange for some younger talent, with MLB pitchers Trent Thornton and Anthony Kay and prospect Rikelvin de Castro heading the opposite way. Over 97 games, Manaea has pitched to a 3.85 ERA with 447 strikeouts, 139 walks, and a 1.196 WHIP while racking up a 39-31 record and throwing a no-hitter back in 2018 against the Boston Red Sox.
Both Kay and Thornton have the potential to be starting pitchers, with Thornton leading the Blue Jays in innings pitched and games started back in 2019, but missing most of 2020 with an elbow injury. These two pitchers have already graduated from the organization’s top prospect list, while de Castro is currently ranked at 17, with an estimated time of arrival at the MLB level in 2024.
The reason this deal makes sense is that the Athletics would be gaining significant years of control over all three players while the Blue Jays would only have two seasons of Manaea before he becomes a free agent after the 2022 season. The Indiana native has one more year of arbitration after this season and will most likely put himself into a situation where the Athletics may not be able to afford him and could deal him at the deadline this year. The left-hander did miss most of the 2019 season with a shoulder injury, but appears to have put that behind him and pitched the entire shortened season in 2020.
Honestly, this trade is very unlikely to happen given the Athletics haven’t been shopping Manaea and don’t appear to be ready to deal him yet given they reached the playoffs last year. I think his trade value should be a little higher than what Baseball Trade Values has it at right now (12.0), given he is one of Oakland’s top pitchers, and the team is still competitive at the time. Nevertheless, the small-market team will most likely trade him one day in the future, and the Blue Jays should have the phone ready for when he becomes available as these two teams have done quite a few transactions together over the years.