Thursday, July 10, 2014
The Blue Jays Need to Make Trades to Survive
By Ian Hunter
This time of year, teams make trades for a few reasons; one is to improve their team and position themselves as a contender. The flip side of that is a trade to acquire top prospects and re-stock the farm system.
The Toronto Blue Jays however, are in a precarious position; while they are very much still in contention for a playoff spot, pretty soon some trades will need to be made for them to merely survive.
The loss of Adam Lind was just the latest in the revolving door of injuries the Blue Jays have sustained in recent weeks. First it was Brett Lawrie, then Edwin Encarnacion and now Adam Lind. One third of the starting lineup is on the shelf for 4-8 weeks.
And it's not like the rest of the lineup is completely healthy either. Jose Reyes is dealing with a shoulder injury. Jose Bautista is not quite back to 100%. Colby Rasmus and Dioner Navarro are still somewhat hampering.
There is really really one everyday position player on the team who isn't feeling the ill effects of an injury, and I won't mention his name in fear of jinxing it ... but you know who I'm talking about.
So if you take all those extenuating factors into consideration, it should really come as no surprise why the Blue Jays have struggled to score runs as of late. And consequently, the team has been on a slide ever since.
While the starting rotation has stabilized for the most part, the starting lineup needs to be addressed. Where before they really only needed a second baseman, now they also have a need for a first and third baseman as well.
It's gotten to the point where calling up players from Buffalo simply isn't going to cut it anymore. There are minor league players and bench guys who are occupying everyday spots, and at times their inexperience has made it very evident they are minor league or bench players.
Wading through the waiver wire hasn't produced that much more success either. Juan Francisco and Noland Reimold may be on the roster now, but there's a good chance they wouldn't still be on this team had it not been for the onset of injuries.
This is where the focus shifts for Alex Anthopoulos as the trade deadline approaches. A few weeks ago, he may have had some feelers out on a second baseman or starting pitcher, and now the priorities have suddenly changed.
So does AA go out and acquire some players to plug some holes for the short term, or does he go out and attempt to look two or three years down the road?
Chase Headley might provide a slight improvement over what the Blue Jays currently have, but at his salary and what it would take to acquire him, is it really worth it for a rental?
If Alex Anthopoulos is going to part with top prospects like Aaron Sanchez and Derek Norris, it better be for a player who's under control beyond 2014. And preferably, somebody who has the pedigree to improve the Blue Jays starting lineup.
This wouldn't be the first time the Blue Jays went out and made some deals to merely keep their heads above water. Remember the Jose Bautista trade? J.P. Ricciardi brought him in because the Blue Jays needed somebody to play third while Scott Rolen was on the DL.
And look back to the 2012 deadline when AA made that massive trade with the Astros to bring in J.A. Happ amongst others. At that point, the Blue Jays were well out of contention, but were in desperate need of starting pitching depth.
J.A. Happ may not be a high calibre pitcher, but at least a move like that shored up a spot in the rotation for at least a few seasons. And I think that's what Anthopoulos needs to do ahead of July 31st; go out and get some infielders that can help the team now, but also next year as well.
The price will inherently be higher to acquire those kinds of players. However, these are the kind of deals the Blue Jays are going to need to make if they not only want a shot at winning this year, but also so that they can merely survive until the end of the season.
Image courtesy of Toronto Star