Blue Jays: Why Jordan Groshans could be used as trade bait

Jul 17, 2020; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Toronto Blue Jays infielder Jordan Groshans (86) gestures to a team mate during an intra-squad game at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 17, 2020; Toronto, Ontario, Canada; Toronto Blue Jays infielder Jordan Groshans (86) gestures to a team mate during an intra-squad game at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Toronto Blue Jays are coming off of a season that saw them go 91-71 but miss the playoffs thanks to the ridiculously good American League East. After a 91 win season, the Jays will be expected to compete for a postseason spot, and rightfully so. They have one of the best lineups in baseball headlined by all-stars Bo Bichette and Teoscar Hernandez as well as the American League MVP runner-up in Vladimir Guererro Jr.

The Jays have a potent lineup, but also feature a really good rotation. They did lose the American League Cy Young winner in Robbie Ray, but they signed Kevin Gausman to a five-year $110 million dollar deal to join Jose Berrios at the front end of what should be one of the better rotations in the American League alongside Hyun Jin Ryu and Alek Manoah.

Not only do the Jays have the roster to compete right now, but they also have some really good prospects. The headliner of the bunch is catcher Gabriel Moreno who is the 32nd ranked prospect in MLB.com’s Top 100 Prospect Rankings. The Jays’ second-best prospect is infielder Orelvis Martinez who’s ranked 44th overall.

As a team that is trying to win right now, the Blue Jays could benefit from using top prospect Jordan Groshans as trade bait to upgrade the current roster.

The third best prospect in the Jays system is where things start to get interesting.

Jordan Groshans was drafted with the 12th overall pick in the 2018 MLB draft out of Magnolia High School. Since that moment, Groshans has been one of the better prospects in the Jays system.

In his Minor League career, Groshans has slashed .300/.372/.453 with 14 home runs and 96 RBI through 146 games. Those numbers are obviously impacted in large part due to there being no 2020 season for the Minor Leagues but since 2018, Groshans has made his way up from Rookie Ball to AA New Hampshire.

Groshans has played a majority of his minor league games at shortstop, but the Jays have their shortstop of the future in Bichette who is not going anywhere. Groshans has played 42 games at third base, but his defensive numbers don’t look great on the surface. He’s committed 11 errors with a .898 fielding percentage at the hot corner through 352.0 innings.

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Groshans has a little bit of an uphill battle to fight in order to get consistent playing time in Toronto. Bichette is locked in at shortstop, so he’d have to play third base. However, Orelvis Martinez is a higher ranked prospect than Groshans who also plays shortstop and third base. Groshans’ MLB ETA is in 2022 while Martinez’s is in 2023 so the Texas product could potentially come up eventually and steal the job, but a lot would have to go right for that to happen.

Since Groshans has only 75 games of experience at the AA level, 21 of which came at third base, I would be shocked if Groshans made the Major League team out of Spring Training even if he has a monster spring. He will probably begin the year in AAA leaving Santiago Espinal as the starter at the hot corner.

Espinal is not a bad player, but the Jays just lost Marcus Semien in free agency and haven’t really replaced him at all in their lineup. Kris Bryant is a free agent, but he will probably cost a lot more money than what the Jays would be willing to spend.

There are two premier third basemen available on the trade market right now in Matt Chapman and Jose Ramirez. Groshans could be a headliner in a deal to get one of those two players. The Jays could also target a second baseman like Ketel Marte and move Cavan Biggio back to third base permanently, using Groshans as a headliner in that package. There also is the option of upgrading the Blue Jays pitching staff using Groshans as a headliner in that kind of package deal.

There is always risk that comes with trading a high-level prospect like Groshans, but there are also risks that come with relying on him. If Groshans gets off to a slow start, that could worsen the Jays’ chances at the postseason. Since Groshans likely won’t be on the team on Opening Day and is not a sure thing to contribute right away, the Jays could acquire someone who can do both of those things with Groshans as the headliner in a trade.

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Since the Jays have so much depth at the left side of their infield at the big league and Minor League levels, Groshans could very well be expendable. I wouldn’t just give him away, but Groshans headlining a package can land a very good player who can help the Jays go from an expected playoff team to a potential World Series contender.

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