Nothing gets the imagination stirring like a good old fashioned trade rumour so I thought I would take it a step further and create a fake trade rumour. The Toronto Blue Jays have actually played pretty well this season and are surprisingly holding their own in the normally tough AL East.
While nobody would consider the Jays a favourite to make the playoffs they have shown glimpses of solid baseball and according to Pythag. Win/Loss (based solely on run differential) they have been near the top of the division all season.
They have yet to get both the bats and pitching to work collectively to get a momentum building winning streak together and they have struggled mightily against the AL East (4-10) but it feels like this is a baseball team waiting to explode.
The team has had some notable weaknesses and subpar performances from a few key players and I think it is time to address them through a big trade. Not only does it send a message to the rest of the division that we are now thinking contention but it also shows the fan base the years of ‘next season’ are indeed over.
Looking at the roster going forward I don’t think it would be wrong to say that the starting rotation could use another top three option – which team couldn’t right? I would love to see an established veteran brought in to take the pressure of the back end of the rotation, somebody who is proven and has thrown 200+ innings in the past.
This is not to say that the current group of Ricky Romero, Brandon Morrow, Henderson Alvarez and Kyle Drabek haven’t performed, they have, but how much of a workload are both Alvarez and Drabek able to shoulder this year?
If one thing is abundantly clear to anyone watching the club on a daily basis we need a middle of the order presence in the line-up. If that could come from a first basemen, even better.
Adam Lind is just not performing up to the level expected of big league first basemen, especially one in the American League East. Lind has been dreadful in 128 PAs he is slashing a pathetic 184/273/316 with only nine extra base hits, good for a negative -0.7 WAR – yeah he has been a sieve.
*FAKE Trade Rumour*
Blue Jays trade: Drew Hutchison, Jake Marisnick, Carlos Perez and Deck McGuire.
White Sox trade: Gavin Floyd and Paul Konerko.
One would have to believe the Jays are showcasing Hutchison to prospective buyers and although his stats aren’t pretty he hasn’t looked overmatched. The White Sox would have to be thrilled to add a guy like Marisnick, one of the better outfield prospects in the game.
Given the presence of CF prospect Anthony Gose in the loaded Jays system, it would be easier to stomach the loss of Jake Marisnick. Carlos Perez is an intriguing catching prospect with solid receiving skills and some untapped potential with the bat. He has been featured on the Blue Jays daily prospect report and is having a pretty solid season overall.
The White Sox have an aging catcher in AJ Pierzynski and I am not confident they fully believe in Tyler Flowers as a long term option. Deck McGuire is definitely off to a rough start and is more of a throw-in or sweetener. He was highly touted out of Georgia Tech and could still develop into a serviceable number four or five starter.
The Blue Jays would clearly be adding two prime time major league players at two needed positions. Gavin Floyd has proven to be an effective American League rotation piece in one of the most homerun friendly ballparks in the major leagues.
Floyd is off to a great start in 2012 with 46.1 ip, 31 h, 13 bb – 42 k and a 2.53 ERA/3.37 FIP. Over a productive nine year career he sports a 4.40 ERA, 7.0 K/9, 2.4 K/BB in over 1,000 career innings pitched.
ZIPS projects a 4.09 ERA/3.62 FIP over the rest of the season (143 IPs) and definitely sees some regression going forward given a sub .230 BABIP thus far but those are numbers almost any team would take from a member of its rotation.
Floyd is a proven commodity and would slot in as a very solid number two or three option (some could make the argument he would be our best pitcher). A trio of Romero-Floyd-Morrow looks pretty imposing. Add Alvarez/Drabek to the backend and you are looking at one of the best rotations in baseball.
Paul Konerko is a monster and would be a huge upgrade over incumbent first basemen Adam Lind. In 150 PAs this season Konerko is mashing to the tune of 344/427/573 good for an impressive .427 wOBA and 1.8 WAR.
Konerko gets on base (11.3 BB%), has power (.229 ISO) and is as consistent a hitter you will see. To be able to slot in a professional hitter in the three or four hole would make the Blue Jays line-up that much deeper.
ZIPS projects Konerko to finish the season with a 288/372/506 slash line (444 PAs) which is a massive improvement over Adam Lind who is projected to hit only 254/310/447 (461 PAs).
It’s hard to say whether the White Sox would be able to sell such a major selloff to their fan base in a season the AL Central appears wide open (until the Tigers find their bats). But they are already three games under .500 (17-20) and would have to be pleased to be able to add a top notch prospect or two for aging pieces.
Are the Jays in a position to make a run and add a player or two? Would you be reluctant to part with Marisnick or Hutchison? Could there be interest in Cole Hamels, Jake Peavy, Joe Blanton, Edinson Volquez or Matt Garza?
What do you guys think?