Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez

When it comes to Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez, the Blue Jays will need to decide if their better off signing them to long-term deals or trading them for youth.

Earlier this week, Sportsnet came out with a thought-provoking article that reported the Blue Jays would be looking to move Marcus Stroman, Aaron Sanchez, and Justin Smoak in an effort to get even younger yet.

The article alluded to comments made by Ken Rosenthal of the MLB Network.  Rosenthal had the following to say…

It’s going to be really interesting to watch the Jays over the next few months because what I believe they’re going to do, what I’m told they’re going to do,  is try to trade Stroman, Sanchez, Smoak and others to get more young talent in Vladdy’s age range and service class and then build up that way.

Smoak I can understand.  Although he’s been a fantastic Blue Jay, with this front office being so gung-ho on youth, it’s difficult to see them keep a 32-year old 1st baseman in the final year of his contract.  But Stroman and Sanchez you’d think would be a different story.  At their best, they’re both ace material, and still young enough (28 and 26) to be included in a re-build that appears to be far ahead of schedule.

Rosenthal mentioned ‘Vladdy’s age range’.  Although Stroman and Sanchez are quite a bit older than Guerrero (20), they aren’t much older than many of the players that Toronto expects to be part of their future plans.  In fact, Sanchez is younger than Randal Grichuk who the Blue Jays recently signed to a five year extension worth $52-million.

What will prompt the Blue Jays to move one or both of these star pitchers has more to do with, as Rosenthal puts it, service class.  With both Stroman and Sanchez hitting free agency at the conclusion of next season, the Blue Jays have to assume the chances of signing both players to long-term contracts highly unlikely.

Many people predicted this Blue Jays rebuild would carry into the 2021 season, and that Toronto wouldn’t even be competitive until such time.  Given that the Blue Jays are pretty competitive now, how much sense does it make to trade away their two best pitchers?  Especially when so many of the most major league ready arms in their farm system have yet to prove deserving of a full-time role in Toronto’s rotation.

If the Blue Jays front office do decide to move Stroman and/or Sanchez, they better have all the confidence in the world that their pitching prospects will be competent replacements for two of the top starting pitchers in the American League.  Unless the Blue Jays receive an offer too good to refuse, they’ll need to be extremely careful with any decision that involves such established talents as Stroman or Sanchez.

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