Blue Jays being named as possible landing spot for Mariners superstar is insane
By Paul Taylor
Who wouldn't want to have Julio Rodriguez on their team? In just his second year in the majors, his resume is already an impressive one.
Rodriguez burst onto the scene in 2022, being named an All-Star, a Silver Slugger, and AL Rookie of the Year. This season he became the second-fastest player in Major League history to reach 30 home runs and 30 stolen bases, taking just six games longer than three-time AL MVP Mike Trout.
However, while Rodriguez's defence in centre field is as excellent as ever, he has experienced a slump in his offensive production. As of the morning of May 15, he has a slash line of just .215/.283/.399, together with a .682 OPS.
The unlikeliest of blockbuster trades involving the Blue Jays
As a result of the 22-year-old's offensive struggles, Adrian Dorney of SportsSkeeda has written there is apparent speculation the Mariners may be looking to offload him. Dorney goes on to pick the Blue Jays as one of the three most likely trade destinations.
Certainly, there is no denying Rodriguez would be a sensational addition for the Blue Jays. However, to believe it is even a possibility is, quite simply, insane.
Can you imagine who the Blue Jays would have to give up to entice the Mariners? Let's play the 'game' for a minute, no matter how ludicrous this whole scenario is.
The Mariners' Achilles heel is offence. At the time of writing they are dead-last in hits and batting average, while having the third-most strikeouts.
In addition, Seattle is 27th in OBP, 26th in slugging percentage, and 27th in OPS. That they have scored the 18th-most runs in the Majors is actually a minor miracle.
Add in the fact the Mariners' overall pitching ranks in the top three for ERA, WHIP and opposing batting average, while the defense is mostly sound. As such, the Blue Jays would have to focus on giving up offensive talent.
Potential trade pieces
But who? Who could Toronto offer, who would interest Seattle, (while also not causing a minor riot in Southern Ontario and beyond)?
Bo Bichette? He's not on Rodriguez's level overall, regardless of his offensive talent.
Matt Chapman? Not a chance for a 30-year-old player, who will be a free agent after this season anyway.
Vladamir Guerrero Jr.? As much as he would likely intrigue the Mariners most, the Blue Jays don't want to give up their own star who they are looking to re-sign, or indeed any of their established players.
And really, this leads to the real crux of the whole issue - this isn't a case of just one player being enough to interest the Mariners. The reality is the Blue Jays would have to give up multiple pieces via some combination of established players, big league-ready talent and top prospects.
In this case, what would be the point, even for a potential generational talent such as Rodriguez? Unlike the NBA where superstars can dominate, baseball is the ultimate team game; such a move would weaken the overall strength of the Blue Jays present and/or future roster.
In fact, you can actually point to the Mariners themselves as an example of having a generational talent, but not being able to take full advantage of them. More specifically, Ken Griffey Jr.
Griffey Jr. was arguably the best player in baseball for the majority of his first tenure in Seattle. However, the Mariners only went to the postseason twice during his 11 years with the Mariners, with neither time resulting in a trip to the World Series.
(The previously referenced Trout is another example of a superstar talent not resulting in becoming a consistent contender. In his 12 major league seasons entering this year, the Angels have been to the postseason exactly one time.)
Mariners have no interest in moving Rodriguez
From the Mariners' perspective, they have no doubt Rodriguez will recover offensively soon enough. He's just in a slump, as opposed to being found out as a fraud or anything along those lines.
Seattle has already shown how much they believe in the Dominican Republic native, by signing him to a contract extension last August. The deal could be worth up to 18 years and $470 million.
As such, why would the Mariners have such a knee-jerk reaction and give up on Rodriguez so soon after agreeing this deal, just because of a minor blip in his development? It would be asinine to make such a decision.
And really, asinine describes the belief that the Mariners are even remotely contemplating trading Rodriguez away. Although in fairness, this also describes the likelihood of the Blue Jays wanting to give up a plethora of players. (As well as this author's decision to even write about such a scenario.)
Ultimately, Rodriguez is going nowhere. And the Blue Jays are doing more than fine just as they are.