After the Yankees and Mariners have made their first big trades, the trade market is starting to take shape for the Blue Jays and the rest of MLB.
Every season a lot of us spend most of the year thinking about trades and what the cost to acquire another team’s star might be. That sorta thinking ramps up even more when names like Shohei Ohtani and Juan Soto start getting thrown around, so this year’s trade deadline is about as interesting as any I can remember, at least for it’s potential.
While we don’t know if those two superstars are going to end up traded, we are starting to get an idea of how the market is taking shape thanks to three deals that just so happen to include AL teams the Blue Jays will be competing for a postseason spot with.
What’s happened so far? (Or at least as of this writing):
1- Yankees acquire Andrew Benintendi from the Royals for Beck Way, Chandler Champlain and T.J. Sikkema
Benintendi was a player that the Blue Jays had been linked to at various times, but his vaccine status also made for a complicated situation. The Yankees are taking a minor risk if that doesn’t change, and it will only impact them when they’re playing in Toronto. For the Blue Jays, it would have been more like what we saw with Kyrie Irving and the Brooklyn Nets this past season in the NBA. That’s as much as I’ll say about that.
I was actually a bit surprised with the return that the Royals received, and thought it might cost a bit more to acquire the Gold Glove outfielder. Not that it’s going to cost a premium to acquire a player on an expiring contract, but Way represents the best of the trio from the look of things, and he now slots in as the Royals’ 12th prospect according to MLB.com. with Sikkema at 21, and Champlain rounding out the list at 30.
2- Mariners acquire Luis Castillo from the Reds for Noelvi Marte, Edwin Arroyo, Levi Stoudt and Andrew Moore
This one was on another level as far as headline-grabbers go, and the Mariners may have just landed the top pitcher on the trade market in Castillo.
Not only is Castillo a more valuable player than Benintendi, he also comes with an extra season of contract control, which makes a very big difference as far as trade value goes. The right-hander is making just 7.35 million in 2022 and will be due a substantial raise in his last trip through arbitration, but the Mariners will be happy to pick up the tab.
While the Mariners improved their big league roster in a big way, their minor league system took a pretty big hit in the process. Marte is widely considered a top 20 prospect, and instantly sits at the top of the Reds’ Top 30 list. Arroyo is another very talented player who is now ranked as the 6th best prospect with his new team, and Stoudt comes in at 15.
Does this deal impact the price for a player like Ohtani or Soto? If anything, it may have upped the ask, or at least further justified what the Nationals or Angels could seek in return for their superstars. As for lower-tier trades, I can’t imagine it’s going to help there after GM’s across the league look at the haul the Reds just got back.
3- Rays acquire David Peralta from the Diamondbacks for Christian Cerda
This one surprised me a bit, because I thought the Dbacks would be able to get a better return than this, and I would think the Blue Jays could have beat this bid rather easily if they wanted to.
Peralta is a solid veteran who is pretty much a strong-side platoon hitter at this stage of his career, but that would fit just fine in Toronto with all of their righties. He’s slashed .248/.316/.460 with 12 home runs and 41 RBI over 278 at-bats, and he’s still a capable corner outfielder as well. I can understand that the front office may have viewed him as a bit of a redundant bat with how well Raimel Tapia and Cavan Biggio have been playing lately, but if the Jays aren’t able to acquire a legitimate star of left-handed hitter, they could have done worse than Peralta.
With less than three days remaining until the trade deadline, things could change in a hurry. For now, at least the market is starting to take shape, and hopefully that will help Ross Atkins and company get something done.