The Toronto Blue Jays are clearly in sell mode. They need to set their sights on these five players if they decide to deal one of their veterans
The Toronto Blue Jays’ play so far in May is what a rebuild looks like. In 11 games this month the Blue Jays have won just twice while being outscored 65-21.
Any optimism that surrounded the team after the debut of top prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. has been diffused by the harsh reality that this is going to be a long process.
Fortunately for the Blue Jays, they have plenty of prospects to get excited about. Cavan Biggio and Bo Bichette look ready to join Guerrero in the big league lineup shortly. With the focus on developing these young stars, the veterans on the Blue Jays roster are expendable. Starting pitchers Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez, as well as first baseman Justin Smoak, are the most likely Blue Jays to be moved before the July trade deadline.
There will likely be several suitors if the Blue Jays try to deal any one of those players. Should a deal happen, the Blue Jays should put their target on these five players who could help the team either now or in the future.
1. Jonathan Loaisiga
For the second straight year, the Blue Jays and New York Yankees could make a deal for Toronto’s staff ace. In 2018 it was J.A. Happ going to the Bronx at the July trade deadline in exchange for Billy McKinney and Brandon Drury. This year it might be either Marcus Stroman or Aaron Sanchez heading to the Yankees.
If the Blue Jays do decide to trade either of their top pitchers to their AL East rivals, they should try to get Jonathan Loaisiga in return. The 24-year-old Nicaraguan has made three starts for the Yankees so far this year, going 1-1 with a 4.50 ERA. He’s currently on the IL after being shut down for four weeks with a shoulder strain on Monday. The Blue Jays can afford to wait for him; he doesn’t become eligible for arbitration for another three seasons.
Loaisiga would instantly become the Blue Jays top pitching prospect, an area where they are currently thin. Sean Reid-Foley, Jacob Waguespack and Patrick Murphy are currently the best pitchers in the Minor League system, but Reid-Foley and Waguespack have struggled so far in 2019 while Murphy is still in Double-A and likely won’t crack the big league club for a while.
The Yankees have the luxury of parting with a promising young pitcher. Their rotation, led by Happ, Masahiro Tanaka, James Paxton and Domingo German, is fifth in the Majors in ERA. With a lineup seemingly put together with duct tape, the Yankees have crept to within a half-game of the Tampa Bay Rays entering play on Tuesday.