With Shohei Ohtani and Juan Soto recently off the board, many Toronto Blue Jays fans feel deflated. And while the sentiment is understood, given the shattering nature of how the Ohtani sweepstakes unfolded, the work in pursuing star talent doesn't end there.
Sure, there are still some pieces still aboard on the free agent market, such as a reunion with Matt Chapman, a blockbuster signing of Japanese phenom Yoshinobu Yamamoto, and the availability of power bats like Cody Bellinger, Jorge Soler and Mitch Garver. But, it's not wrong to admit the depth lacks in this year's class.
However, the trade market offers some interesting opportunities if GM Ross Atkins is willing to play his cards right.
4 teams that could help give the Jays a serious push
Chicago White Sox
It's no question the Blue Jays have a gaping hole in the outfield with the likely departure of Kevin Kiermaier. It's also no question that the White Sox are in baseball's equivalent of the netherworld.
With these two factors considered, there is a match made in heaven here. Predictably, it's Luis Robert Jr. who the Jays should target. The Cuban slugger posted a terrific season in 2023, highlighted by 38 home runs and a 5 bWAR in 145 games. He's exactly what the Blue Jays need coming off a down year offensively as a group, especially as he can slot into that left field spot with Daulton Varsho moving to centre field.
It makes sense for Chicago, too, as the Sox have nowhere to go in the near future with many of their major leaguers regressing severely. The club has been rumoured to be shopping ace Dylan Cease, which is symbolic of their pessimism of the club's short-term outlook.
A trade for Robert won't come easy given his impact along with his four years remaining of club control. This would almost certainly mean giving up some combination of Ricky Tiedemann, Orelvis Martinez, Addison Barger, Alek Manoah and Brandon Barreira. While it's tempting, it's a high-risk operation given Robert's not-so-fortunate injury history.
However, if Toronto can strike a deal, they'll have a new star outfielder that can help the current club push for a World Series, while also potentially sticking around for the long haul if the union goes as planned.