During Saturday’s post-game show after a 5-3 Blue Jays victory, Buck Martinez predicted that Ross Atkins has something off the radar up his sleeve. I’ve gotta say, I think I agree.
As much as I’d like to see the Blue Jays do something drastic at the trade deadline, I haven’t really been expecting a major upgrade to the roster. In my mind I figured the more likely route would be to add at least two above-average, swing and miss relievers, hopefully a depth starter for the rotation, and in a perfect world, another left-handed bat to balance the attack. While I was expecting Ross Atkins and company to be busy, I really haven’t been thinking of the Jays as legitimate contenders for the services of Juan Soto, for example. Of course I’ve thought about it a little bit, but I haven’t let myself get excited about the idea.
However, now that we’re less than three days away from deadline I’m starting to think that there may be something a little more creative in the works, which means I tend to agree with Buck’s comment after the game. This is hardly “proof”, but to me one clue would be at the Jays must not have had much interest in a guy like David Peralta, who was traded to Tampa Bay on Saturday. If the Blue Jays had any interest, I’m surprised they weren’t willing to outbid the Rays, who sent just one prospect in Christian Cerda. The young catching prospect has barely begun his professional career, and with all due respect, is a pretty light return for the Diamondbacks. I know they’re rebuilding and making room for their talented young outfielders, but I’m surprised they let go of a franchise fixture without a little bigger package coming back.
One explanation for the lack of interest from the Blue Jays could be increasing confidence in their own left-handed hitters in Raimel Tapia and Cavan Biggio, who have both performed well recently after slow starts to the season. I can see the argument that their hitting skills would be a little bit redundant in some ways, even if their approaches are all a bit different.
The more intriguing alternative would be to start dreaming about what other options the Blue Jays could be looking at instead. In my mind, they’re going to need to add a pretty talented hitter in order to justify sitting down any of the 11 players that they cycle through the lineup these days. I’m not saying that can’t happen, but finding a needle-mover would make more sense than nibbling around the edges.
In a fantasy world that perfect left-handed bat would belong to Juan Soto or Shohei Ohtani, but I’m not here to try and convince you that a trade of that magnitude is about to happen. I don’t think it’s completely out of the question, especially in the latter case, but I believe it’s overly likely either.
That said, I really believe that the front office understands that they’re truly in a win-now window with this group, and standing pat at the deadline would be a big mistake. The roster needs are well documented, but at the end of the day, any trade that makes the team better could and should be on the table.
Truthfully, I really have no idea what that could look like, but I’m with Buck in thinking that we could be in for a creative move that we didn’t see coming at all.