Blue Jays: Players who could be traded once the lockout is over
Lourdes Gurriel Jr.
Developing into a favourite amongst the dedicated Blue Jays fanbase, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. has found himself a home in left field after struggling to find a spot in the infield earlier in his career.
Since heading to the outfield, Gurriel Jr. has been nominated for the Gold Glove Award in back-to-back seasons (2020 and 2021), mostly due to his cannon of an arm that has accumulated 15 assists over the past two campaigns. He also posted a 6 bDRS back in 2020 and followed that up with a 1 bDRS, with his 0.1 dWAR last season surprisingly ranking high against fellow AL left fielders. Gurriel Jr. is also no slouch in the batter’s box, owning a .282/.324/.492 slash line and a .816 OPS through 347 at-bats over the course of four seasons, with the righty-batter earning 202 RBI to go along with 63 round-trippers.
Signed as an international free agent back in 2016, Gurriel Jr. inked a seven-year deal worth a team-friendly $22 million, with the outfielder currently slated to hit free agency after the 2023 campaign. While his name has not been thrown around too much on the rumour mill, clubs looking for an affordable outfielder with MLB experience will 100% be interested in the Cuban product.
If the Jays are not able to trade Grichuk and teams are interested in Gurriel Jr. to complete a package deal, it might be tough for Ross Atkins and co. to pass on the opportunity to improve other areas on the roster. This trade does leave the same scenario mentioned earlier with the Grichuk deal (Palacios being the remaining bench option barring outside reinforcements) but a trade involving Gurriel Jr. is most likely going to carry some weight when it comes to trade return.
Any deal including the righty-batter will certainly cause an uproar amongst the Jays fanbase but the return should be significant if he is included, hopefully outweighing the loss of Gurriel Jr. if he does get traded.