What could the Blue Jays get in a trade for one of their superstars?

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Trade Guerrero/Bichette for Prospects?

It is not difficult to find contending teams who might jump at the chance to get their hands on a Blue Jays star right now.

Think about Bo Bichette sliding into the Braves lineup at a shortstop position which has been little more than patchwork since they lost Dansby Swanson in free agency. Imagine the Twins with Vlad Jr. at first, instead of the 38-year-old journeyman who currently occupies the position. Are the Astros going to find their way back into it as everyone expects? If so, well, their 37-year-old first baseman Jose Abreu has been one of the worst hitters in the game this season.

A trade with teams like this would surely bring a cavalcade of prospects in return. But what kind of prospects? Recent years have provided a couple of obvious comparables for what the Jays might expect.

For Bo Bichette, one might look at the Mets' 2021 trade for Francisco Lindor. Like Bo, Lindor was headed into his age-27 season, and the last year of contract. Yes, he had shown more power than Bo, and was certainly a better defender, but he also had a lower average and a similar OPS.

In return for Lindor and pitcher Carlos Carrasco – who was either a valuable piece of the trade or a salary dump, depending on who you ask – the Mets sent four players to Cleveland, including Amed Rosario, who had been the number one prospect in all of baseball and had just begun to establish himself in the bigs, as well as top 100 prospect Andrés Giménez, and two additional prospects ranked in the Mets’ top ten.

For Vlad, the best recent comparable is probably the 2022 Matt Olson trade. He moved from the A’s to the Braves entering his age-28 season, a two-time 30-homer man and Gold Glover, with a similar career OPS to where Vladdy currently sits. In return for Olson, Oakland received two top 50 prospects in Shea Langeliers and Cristian Pache, as well as two additional prospects in the Braves' top-10.

If you’re a little more down on Vladdy and Bo, then perhaps a better comparable for both would be the 2018 trade of Christian Yelich. Once one of baseball’s top prospects, Yelich broke in with the Marlins as a 21-year-old, and through his first four full seasons had been … pretty good. He hadn’t quite developed the power the Marlins were expecting, topping out at 21 home runs, but he had been a solid player with an average north of .280 and an OPS between .764 and .859.

Heading into his age-26 season, Yelich was traded to the Brewers for four players, including the #13 ranked prospect in the game, Lewis Brinson, and two additional top 100 prospects in Isan Díaz and Monte Harrison, along with another less touted pitching prospect.

You may notice something glaring here, namely that none of the prospects mentioned have yet developed into anything special. At this point, longstanding Jays fans will probably tilt their heads to the sky and curse the name of Kyle Drabek (once the headline piece in the Roy Halladay trade), or at least get a twisted grin on their face as they remember Brett Lawrie et al. for Josh Donaldson.

But this isn’t a debate over the value of trading established players for prospects, it’s merely an estimation of what the Jays might get right now for one of their stars. And the expected haul is relatively clear – two or three top 100 prospects, preferably headlined by a true blue chipper, and one or two additional flyers further down the rankings.