TORONTO- Now that the 86th MLB All Star Game is over, the July 31st non-waiver trade deadline is fast approaching. The Blue Jays have probably the best offense in franchise history, leading the majors in runs scored. But their pitching is one of their weakness.
Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos knows his team needs pitching. But the big questions that every Blue Jays fans want to knows, “Will the hesitate GM make a deal at the trade deadline?”
According to Fox Sports, Jon Paul Morosi, Anthopoulos is currently active in trade talks with several teams, but not close to make a deal. This is something that many fans don’t want to hear. But there are three reasons why Anthopoulos isn’t quite ready to pull the trigger.
Reason #1: Some teams that aren’t ready to sell just yet.
Since that 2nd wild card is in place, many teams still believe that they are still in the race. We all know that the Philadelphia Phillies, Oakland Athletics and Milwaukee Brewers are going to be sellers. But maybe Anthopoulos is waiting to see if other teams like the San Diego Padres and Cincinnati Reds are willing to sell.
Now there are some interesting pitchers that can help the Blue Jays upgrade their pitching. Pitchers like Johnny Cueto or Jeff Samardzijia could all be good fits for the Blue Jays. However most of them are rental players and will acquired to take on more salary to their payroll. Which leads to the second reason.
Reason #2: Will the ownership, Rogers Communication add more salary to the payroll?
According to Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi, he noted that Anthopoulos is “believed to have about $5-6 million to work with in available payroll.” Obviously that is not a lot of money, especially for a GM who is trying to save his job.
However, President and CEO Paul Beeston mentioned numerous times that the payroll will go up in 2015. Right now their current payroll is at around $128 million (compared to $137 million last season). If there is a deal that make sense financially for both this season and in the next few years, then maybe Anthopoulos can have intriguing trade proposals to present to the ownership to add more money to their budget. Even if they add more money to the payroll, there is one more reason why Anthopoulos isn’t ready to deal.
Reason #3: Which players or prospects are the Blue Jays willing to part ways?
The Blue Jays’ farm system is not as deep as it was in the past. But they have a lot of young arms in the system. They don’t have the depth with positional players. There are several teams are asking about pitching prospects Daniel Norris, Jeff Hoffman, Miguel Castro and catcher Max Pentecost. Now I’m one of those people saying that that shouldn’t give up too much of their future. But if the Blue Jays create a package deal surrounding one of Norris or Hoffman to get a highly established pitcher, then that something could intrigue the fan base. I don’t think they should give up both of them, especially for a rental player.
Some teams also asking about players on the major league roster like Marcus Stroman and Devon Travis. Though it is unlikely that both of them will get dealt. It is quite possible that Anthopoulos may have to be creative by trading some of their top bats like Jose Bautista or Edwin Encarnacion (both have one year left of control before they became free agents after the 2016 season). It is also possible that Dioner Navarro can be dealt as well.
It isn’t easy to make these types of trades. The Blue Jays gave up a lot of their top prospect in the past like Noah Syndergaard (who dominated the Blue Jays last month), Travis D’Arnaud and more. So maybe Anthopoulos is a little hesitant about giving their future. It is always a dilemma, when it comes to making trade decisions.
In the end, Anthopoulos is going to have to make decision on what he’s going to do at the trade deadline. The one thing he can’t do is to stay pat like he did last season. Remember how Bautista and former Blue Jay Casey Janssen react? I’m pretty sure the players aren’t going to be please about that. The A.L. East division is up for grabs and anything can happen in baseball. In my opinion, I think they will make a move or two to get upgrade their pitching But the next two weeks are going to be very crucial for Canada’s only baseball team in MLB. We shall see what Anthopoulos have left on his sleeves.