Where do the Blue Jays turn if they miss out on Ray and Gausman?
The best of both worlds
With the Blue Jays having locked Jose Berrios down for the next seven years with his new extension, their rotation is in a pretty strong place for the long-term. That’s especially the case after Alek Manoah emerged and impressed in his rookie season in 2021, and also with Hyun Jin Ryu under contract for two more years. If Nate Pearson can ever stay healthy and harness his full potential then the Jays will really be in a great place, and re-signing Ray would be just would be the icing on the cake.
However, the Blue Jays would be wise to look at all kinds of back-up plans, and that includes ideas that could solve both short and long-term issues. Right now we know that they need another reliable starter for 2021, but that will also be the case for the next several years as well, especially after Ryu’s contract ends after the 2023 campaign. If the Jays wanted to “have their cake and eat it too”, finding a young, controllable starter would be better than Christmas morning for Ross Atkins and his front office team.
The great news is that sorta thing might just be available this winter, especially if the Miami Marlins seriously dip into the trade market. They have a plethora of talented young starting pitchers, including Sandy Alcantara (26 years old), Taylor Rogers (24), Pablo Lopez (25), Elieser Hernandez (26), Sixto Sanchez (23), and plenty more. There will be all kinds of teams that come calling if they start shopping one or more of them.
The Marlins are in an interesting place because they’re not far off from contending for a playoff spot in the National League, and I’m sure they’re looking to improve the roster. With that in mind, the most logical trade pieces they’d be looking for would be MLB-ready players who could improve their roster right away, and also into the future. Those players aren’t easy to find, but the Blue Jays might serve as a pretty good match here.
It’s possible the Blue Jays could call and offer someone like Alejandro Kirk as a centre piece of a trade, especially with Danny Jansen, Reese McGuire, and super-prospect Gabriel Moreno already in their system. Someone like Jordan Groshans, who isn’t that far off from his own MLB debut, could make a lot of sense here too. I don’t think it’s going to happen, but many fans throw around the idea of trading MLB players like Cavan Biggio or Lourdes Gurriel Jr. as well.
If the Marlins decide they’re willing to trade one of their talented young starting pitchers, the Blue Jays should have the kind of MLB-ready pieces they’re looking for in order to make a competitive offer. I’m not saying there’s a perfect match here, but it’s not hard to see how the two clubs could work something out. Let’s just hope it works out better than the 2013 swap that was supposed to make the Blue Jays one of the World Series favourites.