I'm not really a fan of making a lot of in-season trades because emotions come into play as a result of the team playing poorly. Trades like that rarely work out well. It's generally better to wait until the off-season, when you can evaluate the team without the emotions of a losing streak clouding your thoughts.
But then, at the deadline, sometimes other teams are willing to overpay for parts they feel they need in order to make a playoff run. Since the Blue Jays aren't making the post-season, they might as well listen to offers. What could the Jays do?
Fans always want teams to trade away players that aren't performing well. They fail to realize that, to make a trade, the other team has to want what you're selling. Trades of players like Emilio Bonifacio, J.P. Arencibia and Josh Johnson aren't likely to happen, as they have no trade value at the moment.
More likely to be traded is a bullpen arm or two. The bullpen is one of the few areas where the Jays have some depth and good bullpen arms are highly valued at this time of year. They should listen to offers for all-stars Brett Cecil and Steve Delabar, along with closer Casey Janssen.
If they could get back a good prospect, someone who could help out next season and beyond, they'd be foolish not to consider it. Darren Oliver is another reliever who could be traded. The problem is that Oliver would only accept a trade to Texas, so unless the Rangers want him, he's not going anywhere.
Other possible trade bait
- Mark Buehrle: The lefty is owed $18 million US next season and $19 million in 2015. The Jays wouldn't mind moving that contract. With a 3.46 ERA over his last 10 starts and a good track record, he might be an attractive target for a team in the race, a team that is a little thin in the starting rotation. Maybe the St. Louis Cardinals?
- Adam Lind: A left-handed bat with some power always has value at this time of year. His value is higher than it has been in years. Now might be the time to move him.
- Jose Bautista: I very much doubt the Jays would trade their star slugger. He's signed to a very team friendly contract and he is a fan favourite, so would GM Alex Anthopoulos have to be totally blown away by an offer for Jose. But then teams like the Pittsburgh Pirates and Rangers could really use a power-hitting right fielder, so maybe they would try to wow Anthopoulos. I think the odds of him being traded would fall somewhere between slim and none.
- Rajai Davis: Would be a great choice for teams that are looking for a fourth outfielder/pinch runner. Contenders are often willing to overpay for someone with speed at this time of year.
- Edwin Encarnacion: With an incredibly team friendly contract and equally incredible power, Encarnacion has the most trade value on the team. It won't happen unless someone offers Anthopoulos an amazing package of players.
Rasmus's power attractive to teams
That's the best of the team's trade bait. Outfielder Colby Rasmus is having a very good season and he is someone that contending teams would be interested in, but since Anthony Gose is having a terrible time of it in Buffalo, I can't imagine Anthopoulos would let him go.
And with the spectre of a possible suspension hanging over him, not to mention lousy stats this year, no one will trade for Melky Cabrera.
What would the Jays be looking for in return in any trade? A pitching prospect with the potential to be a No. 1 or 2 in the starting rotation, who is almost major-league ready. A middle infield prospect who again, is almost major-league ready, someone that could step into the second base job next year. And an outfield prospect, with power potential.
Don't expect Jays to axe John Gibbons
On a different subject, the question I'm seeing asked the most is will the Blue Jays fire manager John Gibbons to try to light a fire under the players? The short answer is no. I think Gibbon's job is safe. I don't think the Jays will make any in-season changes to the coaching staff.
After the season? I think Gibbons will still be manager next season, but I have the feeling there will be some changes to the coaching staff. After last season's problems, pitching coach Bruce Walton was let go and hitting coach Dwayne Murphy was demoted.
This time? I have a feeling pitching coach Pete Walker's job isn't safe. I could see Pat Hentgen, who is working as bullpen coach this year, moving up for next season, considering how bad the starting rotation has been. And I'd expect other coaching staff changes. With how bad the infield defence has been, I'd expect a new coach in that area.
I'd also expect a new bench coach. Someone that could help Gibbons keep players in line, as well as giving the Jays someone close by and take over the manager role in case the team gets off to another bad start.
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