Toronto Blue Jays News

Blue Jays: Trade Targets From Teams Already Out of Playoff Contention

ANAHEIM, CA - JUNE 04: Raisel Iglesias #32 of the Los Angeles Angels celebrates after pitching out of a bases loaded, no outs jam in the eighth inning of the game against the Seattle Mariners at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on June 4, 2021 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images)
ANAHEIM, CA - JUNE 04: Raisel Iglesias #32 of the Los Angeles Angels celebrates after pitching out of a bases loaded, no outs jam in the eighth inning of the game against the Seattle Mariners at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on June 4, 2021 in Anaheim, California. (Photo by Jayne Kamin-Oncea/Getty Images) /
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Blue Jays
ST LOUIS, MO – JUNE 25: Richard Rodriguez #48 of the Pittsburgh Pirates celebrates with Jacob Stallings #58 of the Pittsburgh Pirates after beating the St. Louis Cardinals at Busch Stadium on June 25, 2021 in St Louis, Missouri. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images) /

Pittsburgh Pirates

The Blue Jays are already rumoured to have shown interest in Pirates closer Richard Rodriguez. The 31 year old righty has 10 saves in 12 save opportunities this year, to go with a 2.59 ERA in 31.1 innings, and elite control with 27 strikeouts against only three walks. He’d be a massive upgrade over countryman Rafael Dolis. He features a 93mph fastball with elite spin, and an 82mph slider.

Although the decline in his fastball and slider spin rates after the league starting enforcing their sticky substance rules may give Atkins pause?

It’s unlikely the Bucs would make rookie 3B Ke’Bryan Hayes available, but they are rumoured to be listening to offers on both All-Star 2B Adam Frazier and switch hitting CF Bryan Reynolds.

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The 29 year old Frazier is hitting .326 (sixth overall in MLB) and has 24 doubles (2nd), with an OPS+ of 138. But he’s blocked on the Jays by our own All-Star Marcus Semien, and would cost a lot in prospect capital given he’s got another year of arbitration eligibility and would only cost ~$2.15 million for the rest of 2021. He’s made 75 starts at 2B this year and his left-handed bat should be attractive for many teams. Reynolds will be arbitration eligible in 2022 and played his college ball for Vanderbilt like Austin Martin and a number of Blue Jays front office staff.

Other relievers of interest might be lefty Chasen Shreve who will be a free agent in 2022, or relievers with more control like Sam Howard (under team control ~2025) and Chris Stratton (~2023). Interestingly, the Jays and Pirates haven’t made any trades since Bucs GM Ben Cherington was hired away from Toronto in November 2019.

Colorado Rockies

It appears unlikely that Blue Jays will be interested in a rental on pending free agent SS Trevor Story, but they should be making calls on starters German Marquez and Jon Gray, not to mention reliever Daniel Bard and Mychal Givens (currently on the 10-day IL).

Marquez would require a large return, but is under team control through 2023 with a $16 million team option (and $2.5 million buyout) for 2024. He leads MLB in complete games with three and has a 3.62 ERA over 17 starts and 99.1 innings. The 26 year old righty averages 95mph on his fastball which he throws 51% of the time, which sets up his effective 86mph slider (26%) and 85mph curve (20%). He’s pitching well on most measures except fastball spin, and since the MLB started enforcing the foreign substance rules he’s gone 4-1 in five starts over 41 innings with a 2.41 ERA and .156 opponents’ batting average.

29 year old righty Jon Gray would be a rental so he would surely cost less, but the 3rd overall pick in 2013 has said he would like to resign with Colorado. He’s put up a 3.89 ERA over 14 starts and 74.0 innings, and is owed another $3.0 million or so this year. Like Marquez, he features a fastball (94mph) and slider (86mph), with an 87mph changeup thrown 11% of the time.

Closer Daniel Bard, the 2020 National League Comeback Player of the Year, might be the most interesting trade target on the Rockies. The 36 year old RHP has 11 saves in 16 opportunities season to date, with a 4.19 ERA and 45 strikeouts over 34.1 innings. He’ll be in his final year of arbitration eligibility next year and would be a free agent in 2023.

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