To wrap things up I took a left turn at Albuquerque and decided to talk about what happens if the Blue Jays don’t find themselves as buyers ahead of this year’s trade deadline. In that case, they’ve got a pretty tantalizing trade chip they could put on the table.
Both Marcus Semien and the Blue Jays gambled on a one-year, 18 million dollar contract for 2021 and it’s paid off for both sides. Semien had a down year in 2020 during the shortened 60-game schedule, and a single season deal offered him a chance to reestablish his value closer to where it should be. Consider that a mission accomplished for the 30 year old, who will be a free agent again this coming offseason. For the Blue Jays, they’ve benefitted greatly from his All-Star calibre performance, and the only regret is not signing him to a multi-year deal.
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Since he’s playing on an expiring contract, the Blue Jays would be wise to at least keep this scenario in the back of their minds. The goal absolutely still needs to be on a return to the playoffs for this talented young roster, but I think we can all agree that there are still flaws with this team. Those issues will need to be addressed if they’re going to take a shot at truly competing in 2021, and the Jays will need to continue their solid play of late in order for the front office to invest in this season.
The next 12 games will go a long way toward defining the path they’re going to take, and if they can’t get the job done against the Mariners, Rays, and Orioles ahead of the All-Star break, don’t be surprised if Semien starts popping up in rumours. When you consider that he’s slashing .281/.346/.519 with 18 home runs, 45 RBI, and 9 stolen bases, there are going to be plenty of suitors for the middle infielder. The same could be said a pair of starting pitchers on expiring deals in Robbie Ray, and to a lesser extent with Steven Matz.
For what it’s worth, I believe that the Blue Jays will ultimately end up as buyers this summer and will remain in the thick of the playoff race. I’m even confident that if they can improve the bullpen that they’re a force to be reckoned with, and it’s a job that Ross Atkins needs to find a way to get done. It might help that he has a few unlikely trade chips to work with these days, and we’ll see if he ends up using any of them to push this team from good to great.