For the current offseason, the Toronto Blue Jays have been active in making moves to help retool their roster for the 2024 season. They have done most of their work in the free agent market by picking up key players in Justin Turner, Yariel Rodríguez and Isiah Kiner-Falefa, in addition to re-signing fan favourite Kevin Kiermaier to be their outfield general once again.
In doing so, specific roles and positions on the ballclub are becoming more or less defined for the upcoming year, leaving less opportunities for some returnees and hopefuls to secure a starting spot on the 26-man roster. As a result, it may make more sense for the Blue Jays to consider putting some of these players on the trade block to maximize the value they could bring back to help the ballclub.
Here, we take a look at five Blue Jays players that could be considered as trade bait going forward.
It may sound unfair to put the once-infielder in this category. After all, he was an All-Star just two years ago when he batted .267 with 51 runs scored, 25 doubles, 7 home runs and 51 RBI in 135 games. However, he followed it up with a less-than-stellar season in 2023 when he was forced to split duties with Cavan Biggio and Whit Merrfield throughout the year. In the end, Espinal compiled a .248 batting average, .644 OPS, 30 runs scored, 14 doubles, a pair of home runs and 25 RBI in 93 games played, along with displaying a less steady hand in the field compared to his usual form. Perhaps not being able to play everyday had somewhat of an impact on his overall performance. Nevertheless, the Jays expected more out of him whenever he was given the opportunity to contribute.
Merrifield may have departed for free agency this offseason, but the Jays have quickly replaced him with another utilityman in Kiner-Falefa. Not only can IKF play multiple positions in both the infield and outfield, he has also captured a Gold Glove back in 2020 as a third baseman with the Texas Rangers. His addition to the ballclub presents a huge problem for Espinal. With Espinal’s strength being his defensive abilities, IKF can now provide the same thing at a more elite level. On top of that, when it comes to offense, which the Jays desperately need, Espinal’s production lags behind that of Biggio and even Davis Schneider.
As a result, similar to last season’s crowded picture, IKF, Biggio and Schneider could end up seeing most of the playing time by playing to their strengths as Espinal could once again see limited action. If that becomes the case, rather than to squander his talent by making him constantly ride the bench, now may be the right time to give Espinal a new home. That way, he can get the starting time he truly deserves, while at the same time, the Jays can recoup a valuable asset in return for a win-win scenario.