On April 30, Sportsnet came out with an article titled Blue Jays to try trading Stroman, Sanchez, Smoak. Even though the article was based on a quote by Ken Rosenthal of the MLB Network, it was still a strange and inappropriate time for such news to be presented when the Blue Jays were on such a roll.
Marcus Stroman, Justin Smoak, and Aaron Sanchez all knew heading into the season that there was a good chance they’d be traded sometime soon. But they don’t need to be reminded of it, by of all places, Sportsnet. The news media outlet owned and controlled by the same company (Roger Communications) that owns the Blue Jays.
Ever since that article was published, the Blue Jays have been a complete wreck and nothing like the competitive bunch they were in April. Going 1-7 and being outscored 45-16 in their last eight games. Toronto’s only win coming via a 1-0 shutout of the Rangers in 12 innings. The table below looks at how well Stroman, Sanchez, and Smoak were playing before that ill-timed article and how poorly they’ve played since.
Nobody gave Toronto much of a chance this year what with such an inexperienced roster. Despite all the personnel changes and the number of youthful players, for the first month of the season, the Blue Jays were capable of competing against any team in the league. Those good times however came to an abrupt end when trade talk of Stroman/Smoak/Sanchez resurfaced when it did.
What those comments by Rosenthal, and the subsequent article by Sportsnet did was confirm for the players that regardless of how well they and the team might be playing, the Blue Jays front office will still be looking to trade a good number of them.
Where’s the motivation to play your ass off (much like they did in April) for an organization that’s only going to trade you anyway? Some fans will argue that players have a job to do whether they’re being shopped around or not. But for guys like Stroman and Smoak who have grown to love playing for the Blue Jays, the idea of their names being constantly mentioned in trade talks makes it difficult to be at their best for a team that’s apparently so committed to moving them.