In last nights ball game against the New York Mets, Marco Estrada was forced to leave after throwing just 12 pitches on account of a sore hip. With the Blue Jays nowhere close to being in contention, this kind of injury normally wouldn’t be such a big deal. The problem is, Estrada was one of the players the Blue Jays were hoping to move prior to the July 31 trade deadline.
With 28 days between now and the deadline, the Blue Jays have to ask themselves what difference does it really make trading a playing now compared to four weeks down the road. The answer is, it makes little difference. That is, unless the player ends up getting hurt. Seeing as they’re a distant 14.5 games back of the second wild card anyway, why not try to move some of these players now while they’re still healthy and playing well?
Moving Steve Pearce to Boston when they did was a smart move. It got the ball rolling on what should be a very busy trade season for the Blue Jays. It’s important for Toronto to keep up that momentum on the trade front or else risk what happened to Estrada last night happening to other potential trade candidates. The Blue Jays should have already learned this lesson with the ongoing injury saga that’s plagued Josh Donaldson for two years now.
The biggest trade asset the Blue Jays are willing to part with is J.A. Happ. Happ is the sort of veteran pitcher that any contender would be lucky to have. I hate talking like this, but every day the Blue Jays hold onto Happ, is another day they jeopardize losing him to injury. If the Blue Jays continue to hold onto Happ because he’s likely to be their lone representative at the all-star game, they need to forget that and start looking at the big picture. Which is, of all the players likely to be moved by Toronto this month, Happ will provide them with by far the greatest return of young talent.
One thing about the Blue Jays front office is they have a tendency to hold onto players too long, only to see those players value decline dramatically. It’s what happened with Josh Donaldson…it’s perhaps what’s going to happen with Marco Estrada…and fingers crossed it doesn’t happen with anyone else between now and the end of July.