At last years trade deadline the Blue Jays should have jump started their re-build as it was pretty obvious this current group of players wouldn’t be able to recreate the success it enjoyed back in 2015 and 2016.
When I refer to the Blue Jays needing a re-build, lets be clear, I’m not talking about a complete overhaul similar to what’s happening with the White Sox or Marlins. I’m talking about simply trading away pending free agents to beef-up their youth movement all while preserving a core group of players (e.g. Kevin Pillar, Justin Smoak, Aaron Sanchez, Marcus Stroman) who will likely play a significant role in the future of this ball club.
At least the Blue Jays got the ball rolling a little bit last season with this minor re-build when they made a few promising moves by trading Joe Smith and Francisco Liriano. Trading away those two players netted the Blue Jays talented prospects Teoscar Hernandez, Samad Taylor, and Thomas Pannone. If Ross Atkins can manage to get Hernandez for Liriano (who at the time of the trade had a 5.88 ERA), just imagine the haul he could bring in for the likes of Josh Donaldson or J.A. Happ.
The Blue Jays know exactly what they’re up against in the AL East over the next five years. Both the Red Sox and Yankees are young and incredibly talented. If Toronto wants any chance of competing against these juggernauts, they’ll have to continue adding to their crop of young players in a very big way. Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is the best prospect the Blue Jays have ever had. In a few years he may even be the best hitter in baseball, but even so, he’s going to need a boat-load of help to compete in such a tough division.
The Blue Jays front office (specifically Mark Shapiro) said they kept this team together in 2018 because they wanted one last kick at the can while Donaldson was still with the team. Now that their chances of making anything happen in the standings this season are next to zero, they need to come to their senses and do what’s right for the future of this ball club. And that means getting as much as they can for Donaldson, Happ, Marco Estrada, and any other pending free agent garnering interest on the trade market.