Analyzing a laughably poor Blue Jays-Padres trade proposal

Which promising player could the Jays get from the Padres, and at what cost?

Arizona Diamondbacks v San Diego Padres
Arizona Diamondbacks v San Diego Padres / Orlando Ramirez/GettyImages
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In a recent article from Bleacher Report, they took a unique look at hypothetical trade packages for MLB top rumoured targets. It just so happens that the Toronto Blue Jays are involved in one of the suggested proposals. The trade offer would go as follows:

Jays Padres

The swap of players would be Jake Cronenworth for Cavan Biggio one-for-one straight up, with no strings attached. Would this work for the Jays? Let’s do a more careful analysis of this shocking offer,

On one hand, we have Cronenworth, who has established an impressive track record. Not only was he an NL Rookie of the Year finalist in 2020, he is also a two-time All-Star. On top of that, Cronenworth was even a Gold Glove finalist in 2022, proving that he can get it done in the field as well. Just for good measure, he hits for power and speed, can play multiple infield positions and bats left-handed, which is exactly what the Jays have been looking for to bolster their lineup.

On the other hand, there’s the incumbent Biggio. Other than his stellar rookie debut season in 2019 where he put together his best season of his career with 66 runs scored, 16 home runs, 48 RBI and 14 stolen bases in 100 games, he has struggled a bit to maintain a permanent starting gig in each of his subsequent seasons with no recognizable accolades to show for.

So then is there any catch to the trade proposal? Is it too good to be true?

Digging deeper into it, there certainly is a catch, and it's one that would like turn the Blue Jays off from such a proposal. Just last year, the Padres signed Cronenworth to a huge seven-year, $80M contract extension. Little did they know that he would begin to decline the way he did. Most of his numbers have gone down from the relevant hitting categories in each of his past couple of years, with last season being his worst to date. In 2023, he hit a miserable .229 with a .689 OPS, 92 OPS+, along with just 54 runs scored, 10 home runs and 48 RBI in 127 games played prior to his season-ending wrist injury in August.

The Padres actually had control of his arbitration rights through to 2026 and didn't need to make a rash decision to lock in a declining asset for so many years. Now that the Padres appear to be fielding trade offers for Cronenworth, it is quite apparent they are trying to get rid of their anchor in the lineup by trading away their mistake (subscription required) in judgment and dump their problem onto an unknowing team.

Even with some of Biggio's inconsistencies, at least he showed some signs of turning it around near the end of last season to become one of the more reliable contributors on the team. Not only that, he provides the flexibility to play both in the infield and outfield, and isn't tied down to a huge albatross contact like Cronenworth, giving the Jays more control of his destiny going forward.

Furthermore, if we dig deeper with the numbers and actually normalize their average production over a 162-game schedule, one would find the statistical yearly offensive output of both Cronenworth and Biggio to be surprisingly similar to each other. Cronenworth may have the slight upper hand in batting average, OPS, doubles and RBI, but Biggio leads in terms of on-base percentage, stolen bases, and walks. So for those thinking he would be a massive upgrade over Biggio, think again.

162 Game Schedule Average Per Season

Jake Cronenworth

Cavan Biggio

Batting average

.249

.229

On-base percentage

.331

.345

OPS

.749

.734

Runs scored

86

84

Doubles

34

27

Home runs

17

17

RBI

75

61

Stolen bases

5

11

Walks

62

82

So the final verdict? The Padres may be eager to shed Cronenworth's salary, but there's no chance the Blue Jays agree to take it on. Even if San Diego eats some of the money, he showed enough of a regression last year that there's just too much risk right now.

Despite his potential to hit for power and play elite infield defence, his rapid offensive decline in recent years that has been more drastic than even Biggio's raises a huge red flag for the Jays. The last thing they need is to tie up large sums of money in an anchor in the lineup, pulling the team backwards instead of progressing forward. So for the Jays, they can strictly enjoy perusing the laughable proposal that bears with it plenty of trickery and dead weight, and quickly just move on.