Blue Jays: Ross Atkins and company thinking bigger than we thought?
While the Blue Jays are still four games out of a playoff spot, it appears that the front office is serious about finding impact roster upgrades before Friday.
At 49-47 the Jays are 10.5 games back of the Red Sox for first place in the AL East, although they’ll square off for a double-header on Wednesday, and play a third game on Thursday as well before make their long awaited return to the Rogers Centre in Toronto. They’re also 4.0 games behind Oakland for the 2nd Wild Card spot, although oddly enough the Jays have played six less games than the A’s to this point. That Wild Card race is the more realistic target, and it’s pretty clear that the front office is still thinking that way.
As we approach the trade deadline on Friday, the Blue Jays have been linked to most of the biggest names that are being discussed on the market. It’s possible that they’re kicking some tires, doing their due diligence and looking for a potential bargain, but I wouldn’t rule out a big present for the fan base given some of the rumours that are floating around.
For example, The Athletic’s Jayson Stark reported that the Jays are among the eight teams that are in on Max Scherzer should the Washington Nationals decide to deal the 3x Cy Young award winner. It’s a complicated situation given the deferrals in Scherzer’s contract, the fact that he’s a 37 year old who is also a pending free agent, and that he has veto power in this situation. It’s likely going to take an extension of some sorts, and “Mad Max” won’t come cheap. It’s probably a long shot that he’d want to move to Canada at this stage of his career if he has any say in the matter, especially during an ongoing pandemic. However, the Blue Jays have an exciting core and immediate future in store, so it can’t be ruled out as impossible that he might be interested.
More from Jays Journal
- Matt Chapman has been exactly what the Blue Jays needed
- Blue Jays: The goalposts are moving in the right direction
- Single-A Dunedin Blue Jays advance to the Championship Series
- Blue Jays: Comparisons for Alek Manoah’s Second Season
- Blue Jays: Adam Cimber, the unlikely decision King
We know the Jays have checked in on Jose Berrios of the Minnesota Twins before as well, and it seems his market might be heating up in advance of the deadline. There would likely be several suitors that Atkins would have to outbid, but Berrios would come with an extra year of contract control, and would look great alongside the two southpaws at the top of the rotation. It has been reported that Minnesota’s asking price is understanding quite high though, so we’ll see how aggressive the bidding might get, or if they ultimately trade him.
In addition to those two starting pitchers, arguably the most talked about possible trade target might be Joey Gallo of the Texas Rangers, including from Jon Morosi of the MLB Network. Gallo also comes with an extra year of contract control, and would bring a powerful left-handed bat with him in addition to a resume that includes a Gold Glove in the outfield.
I’m not sure I understand this rumour so much, even if I’m not surprised that the Blue Jays have checked in. They already have a crowded outfield that includes George Springer, Teoscar Hernandez, Lourdes Gurriel Jr., and Randal Grichuk, and they may eventually have Corey Dickerson to work into the mix at some point if he can get healthy in time to contribute in 2021. To me, the Jays would likely have to trade one of their outfielders in order to make the upgrade work to their best advantage, and that could be a tall order. On top of that, you could make a strong argument that they need to focus on pitching and should save their MiLB assets to do just that.
Morosi has also discussed the Blue Jays and Pittsburgh Pirates closer Richard Rodriguez, who may be able to help at the back of the bullpen. His numbers haven’t been as good since his dominant start to the season, but for the right price the Jays could very well be interested. Morosi has also mentioned them as a possible suitor for Daniel Hudson of the Nationals as well, which would be Hudson’s second go-around with the Jays if that were to happen.
While it remains to be seen what Atkins and his team will actually do to upgrade this roster, it’s pretty clear that they’re not ruling anything out at this point, including a situation as complicated as Scherzer’s. It would sure help the cause if they could pick up a double-header sweep here on Wednesday, but either way I imagine the Blue Jays will be one of the busier teams over the next few days. It’s a bit of a pleasant surprise given the up and down season they’ve had thus far, but considering they’re finally about to return to Canada and have one of the better run differentials in baseball, I’m all for it.