In a recent post from a Miami Marlins blog, it was suggested that the club should explore the idea of engaging in a huge trade with the Toronto Blue Jays. In the proposal, the Jays would be sending Alek Manoah and Danny Jansen to the Marlins in exchange for outfielder Jesús Sánchez, a top-10 team prospect in Brock Vradenburg, and a top-30 team prospect in right-handed pitcher Ike Buxton. Would such an out-of-this-world trade somehow work for Toronto?
Well, let’s see, remember they are asking for both Manoah and Jansen as part of the deal. For Manoah, he certainly had a season that was worth forgetting in 2023, but recall that he is only one year removed from being an AL Cy Young finalist. For a player that reached a star-calibre level at such a young age, they don’t usually just suddenly regress that rapidly. The skill and talent level is definitely still there, but he will probably need some tweaks in his game to get him back on track. As a result, Manoah’s trade value might be lower than expected right now, but given his enormous potential that still remains, he shouldn’t just be given up for anything.
In the case for Jansen, let’s just say he was perhaps the Jays’ best clutch performer during the 2023 season. Despite his low average of .228, he often came through with big hits that helped the Jays tie or go ahead in a game. For the season, he amassed 17 home runs and 53 RBI, but was on pace for 25+ home runs and 80+ RBI if he wasn’t beset by injuries along the way. Alejandro Kirk may have been the star catcher for the Jays in 2022, but Jansen was certainly the man of the hour in 2023. From the organization’s perspective, they had already lost one of their premium catching depth players last season with Gabriel Moreno going to the Arizona Diamondbacks. So losing one more without getting one back makes absolutely no sense for a strong contending team like the Jays.
In terms of what the Jays would get back, Sánchez is supposedly the key return in the deal, which is quite hilarious. He projects to give about 15-20 home runs and 50-60 RBI of production per season. But at the same time, he strikes out quite a bit at a rate close to 30% while possessing a career .234 batting average. So basically he would be another Daulton Varsho, minus the speed and elite defence in the outfield. For the Jays who have been looking for an upgrade in the outfield with Kevin Kiermaier’s departure, Sánchez is certainly not the long-term solution.
In addition, Vradenburg is a promising, power-hitting first baseman prospect in the Marlins’ minor league system. However, the Jays do not need help at first base with Vladimir Guerrero Jr. firmly entrenched there for the next little while. Vradenburg may have been a prolific hitter during his college years, but he has struggled a bit so far in his professional baseball debut with the Marlins’ Single-A affiliate this year.
For Buxton, he projects to be a future back-end of the rotation starter that probably still needs at least a couple more years of development. That is because other than his solid minor league season that he just posted in 2023, he has been largely inconsistent with his command and control. In the past few years, Buxton often toiled with an ERA above five and WHIP greater than 1.50 throughout his college career, as well as recently in the Arizona Fall League. But with the Jays in win-now mode, they don’t have the time to wait for that growth as they need that fifth starter to be ready right now instead.
Overall, it is quite obvious what the verdict would be for the Jays with this huge trade suggestion. As a team looking to be perennial contenders, they shouldn’t entertain any trade ideas where they could be losing two of their everyday starters for three potential bench or minor league players. So with kind gratitude to the Miami Marlins proposal, thanks, but no thanks.