Toronto Blue Jays News

Blue Jays: Examining potential starting pitching trade targets

PHOENIX, ARIZONA - SEPTEMBER 26: Starting pitcher German Marquez #48 of the Colorado Rockies throws a pitch against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the first inning of the MLB game at Chase Field on September 26, 2020 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images)
PHOENIX, ARIZONA - SEPTEMBER 26: Starting pitcher German Marquez #48 of the Colorado Rockies throws a pitch against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the first inning of the MLB game at Chase Field on September 26, 2020 in Phoenix, Arizona. (Photo by Ralph Freso/Getty Images) /
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DENVER, CO – AUGUST 31: Starting pitcher German Marquez #48 of the Colorado Rockies delivers to home plate during the third inning against the San Diego Padres at Coors Field on August 31, 2020 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images)
DENVER, CO – AUGUST 31: Starting pitcher German Marquez #48 of the Colorado Rockies delivers to home plate during the third inning against the San Diego Padres at Coors Field on August 31, 2020 in Denver, Colorado. (Photo by Justin Edmonds/Getty Images) /

Toronto Blue Jays acquire:
RHP German Marquez (67.2)
= 67.2

Colorado Rockies acquire:
SS Jordan Groshans (40.1)
RHP Simeon Woods-Richardson (19.8)
3B Miguel Hiraldo (8.5)
= 68.4

or

Toronto Blue Jays acquire:
RHP German Marquez (67.2)
OF Ian Desmond (-10)
= 57.2

Colorado Rockies acquire:
SS Jordan Groshans (40.1)
RHP Simeon Woods-Richardson (19.8)
= 59.9

I can probably guess what you are thinking.

  1. Holy crap, German Marquez has a high rating
  2. Players can have negative values? (yes they can!)

Like the Chicago Cubs, the Colorado Rockies are entering a season that could see them tear apart their major league roster and head towards the rocky shores of a rebuild. They recently traded all-star Nolan Arenado to the St. Louis Cardinals and star shortstop Trevor Story could potentially leave next off-season as he becomes a free agent for the first time in his career. On top of that, the Rockies have quite a few veterans on the roster, all of whom are on pretty large contracts but aren’t producing results. To make matters even worse, the Rockies currently have one of the worst-ranked farm systems in the MLB at 29th overall, so entering a rebuild still might not yield the results they hope to see with the current system in place.

German Marquez is one of the top pitchers in the Rockies rotation and already has almost five years of experience at just 25 years old. The Venezuelan native owns a career 4.24 ERA and 1.269 WHIP with 640 strikeouts in 106 starts (109 appearances) since joining the rotation back in 2016. While some might question why his stock is so high given his 4.24 ERA, you have to remember that Marquez also pitches half of the time at the hitter-friendly park of Coors Field, home of the Rockies.

This trade would be tough on Blue Jays fans who follow the organization’s prospects/farm system because to acquire Marquez will take some serious prospect capital given his team-friendly contract and how he will not be eligible for free agency until the 2025 season.

Scenario 1

This trade would heavily rely on three of the Blue Jays best prospects in order to acquire Marquez.

For the deal to work, the Blue Jays would trade top prospects Jordan Groshans (3), Simeon Woods-Richardson (4), and Miguel Hiraldo (9) to get the deal done.

This deal works well for the Rockies as Groshans could take over as shortstop next season if Story does indeed leave via free agency while continuing to have highly touted Brendan Rodgers at second base. If Story does in fact stay with the Rockies, then the organization could move Groshans to third base to get him reps in the lineup with only Garret Hampson standing in his way as competition. Hiraldo would head to the minors and continue developing but could be MLB ready as early as a year or two from now. SWR could also factor into the Rockies rotation as early as next year, which would help lock down a potential future rotation featuring current pitchers Antonio Senzatela, Kyle Freeland, newly acquired Austin Gomber, and prospect Ryan Rolison.

For the Blue Jays, losing these prospects would be a huge blow, but it would allow newly drafted Austin Martin a way to the MLB as the organization’s third baseman He did struggle at third base during his college days, but unless the team chooses to trade one of their outfielders, his best bet may be at third base. Losing SWR would be another big blow to the pitching depth on the Blue Jays as he is apparently very close to cracking the Blue Jays roster as early as next year. With Hiraldo, losing him would sting as well but does not impact the depth charts too heavily with Orelvis Martinez, Leonardo Jimenez, and Rikelvin de Castro still in the Blue Jays farm system.

As far as rebuilds go, having these three in the organization would set the Rockies on the right track to securing a solid young core while revamping the farm system to get them out of the 29th ranking.

Scenario 2

This scenario could work for both sides in that the Blue Jays would absorb a bad contract in order to give up less prospect capital to acquire Marquez.

Since signing a five-year, $70 million deal back in 2016/2017, Ian Desmond has struggled to live up to the hype and value that he was signed for. While his stats are not abysmal, the Rockies would be looking to trade more veteran players if they do choose to rebuild and could package him alongside Marquez in order to save some money. As it stands right now, Desmond has one season left on his contract at $8 million with a club option for the 2022 season (with a $2 million buyout).

By packaging Desmond alongside Marquez, the Blue Jays would still have to send Groshans and SWR to complete the deal, but would be able to keep Hiraldo. The team would have to take on Desmond’s contract for the year and then take the hit for buying him out next off-season, but can afford to do so given the young core not being financially taxing on the overall salary.

If you really want to get radical, feel free to switch out Desmond for Charlie Blackmon and his -37 value, and the Blue Jays could essentially trade only Teoscar Hernandez (32.5) the other way in terms of value. While this trade most likely wouldn’t happen, if the Blue Jays are willing to take on significant money like the $55 million he is owed over the next three years (player options in 2022 and 2023), they could save some prospect capital going the opposite way and use them either on the roster or in other trades.

Take your pick.

Conclusion

The fact of the matter is that in order to acquire a pitcher in his prime with four years of team control is going to cost the Blue Jays no matter which way you package it. You can switch in and swap out Groshans and Woods-Richardson as much as you like, but you would only be adding other top prospect players like Alejandro Kirk or Orelvis Martinez to get the deal to work.

Losing Groshans and Woods-Richardson will sting for a while, but having a pitcher like Marquez on the roster would make the Blue Jays a better team today and give them a better opportunity at achieving postseason glory.

Look for the Colorado Rockies to possibly fire sale later this season if they don’t think they can retain Trevor Story. If Story goes, most likely Marquez will follow.

Next. Toronto Blue Jays: Marcus Semien- At what expense?. dark

Tune in later this week as part two examines other possible starting pitchers the Blue Jays could acquire this year in an effort to reach October baseball. Feel free to play around with the simulator and see what trades you can muster up because believe me, these are not the only options available for the players mentioned in this article.

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