Blue Jays potentially selling their best outfielder would be a shit start to the offseason

The addition of Chase Anderson seemed like a smart, if not uninspired start to the Blue Jays offseason. Now, with Atkins revealing he’s willing to sell Lourdes Gurriel Jr. for pitching, the bullshit train is back in Toronto. Toot, toot, all aboard!

On this week’s episode of “How will Ross Atkins and Mark Shapiro alienate the fanbase further” the GM (Atkins), likely under direction from or approved by President (Shapiro), has let it leak that they are willing to shop Lourdes Gurriel Jr. for starting pitching. Before anyone gets their back up about this let’s get things straight.

Yes, I understand that with Bo Bichette, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Cavan Biggio, and Rowdy Tellez the starting infield is set and Gurriel, if cast as an INF would be a depth guy. And, yes I understand that if you want something good you have to give something good. Now that that’s out of the way, let’s continue shitting on the front office for this piece of news.

Reclamation Project Turned Gold

Lourdes Gurriel Jr. is the Blue Jay’s best outfielder. The Cuban former infielder was demoted to AAA Buffalo last season when a case of the yips had him unable to throw across the diamond, costing the Jays more than a few outs. After some reclamation time, Gurriel returned to the big league team… a solid outfielder.

His transition to left-fielder was a tactic to simplify the game for him; track pop-flys, chase down more athletic plays and throw harder from a longer distance. Instead of transitioning this back to the infield the Bisons’ coaching staff let him marinate in the outfield and in a true form of alchemy turned a good offensive/iffy defensive infielder into a high upside/ strong defensive outfielder – exactly what the Jays lack.

Why the hell would you trade one problem area to fix anther problem area?! As it stands, the Blue Jays outfield should stack up as follows LF: Gurriel Jr., CF: Grichuk, RF: McKinney/Fisher. That is far from elite, but Atkins and Shapiro acquired both right-field options and they do have a good eye for young talent (both brought in from the Astros, too).

This team needs a Lorenzo Cain or Dexter Fowler to legitimize the group and shore it up defensively with a captain-esque player. The front office can address this by dipping into the free-agent market. Forget Yasiel Puig for his hot-headedness, or Nick Castellanos for his high price tag; the Jays should add in Avisail Garcia (29), Cole Kalhoun (32), or Corey Dickerson (31), veteran players who can still contribute at an elite level while also being a part of the leadership group for this young core.

Control, Control, Control

We as Blue Jays fans fully understand how much Ross Atkins and Mark Shapiro loooooooooove to pinch a penny. Cut ties with big-name players still able to help a team and meltdown the team and bring in fringe players to fill out the roster all to save some money. This has been the strategy for the Jays and it’s been hard to stomach for the most part.

On the other hand, these frugal guys should be all over keeping Gurriel Jr. due to his unreal contract and control. In 2017 he signed a seven-year deal that takes him to 2023 with value increasing from $2.93 million next season to $5.83 million in his final year of the deal.

If not for his refound form, the Jays need to keep a hold of Gurriel Jr. for his control and value deal. The hallmark of the Blue Jays team is similar to that of the Cubs a few seasons ago. They are young, extremely talented, have grown up together, and are primed to make an impact together on a major league roster. Don’t fuck this up, Shapiro and Atkins, just open your wallets for pitching instead of hemorrhaging the already thin outfield.

Kings of the North; Toronto the Championship City

The Raptors have done what we in Toronto have waited 26 years to do: Toronto is finally a winner again. Not since the 1993 Toronto Blue Jays has The Big Smoke been the winner of a major sports trophy, until now.

Fuelled by star power, supported by elite talent, and defined by hard work, the Raptors have set the new standard for Toronto sports teams. So what can the Leafs and Blue Jays learn from this never-back-down, no-quit team?

Patience.

Patience to develop your team and build a winning culture before playing the first minute of game one.

Masai Ujiri said it best, “championships aren’t built in one year.” Despite adding Danny a Green, Marc Gasol, and oh yeah Kawhi Leonard all this season, the backbone has been in place for years. Kyle Lowry, Pascal Siakam, and Fred VanVleet are all long term Raptors and have massively impacted this team’s developed culture far beyond this season.

Can the Leafs take a page out of the 2019 Raptors playbook?

The Leafs are deep into the process of making their team into a championship squad. All the pieces are here: generational drafted talent, world-class free agent signing, recent playoff experience. So what lesson can they take from this season’s Raptors?

Sometimes you need to bet on yourself and take some risks to take the next step. Moving on from DeMar DeRozan was a massive risk, not to mention mortgaging the future with a first your draft pick to get a better return on the player, too. At the time of the deal it was a heavily criticized move, I mean Kawhi barely played last season!

Hindsight is 20/20 and now with a franchise-first Championship secured, the deal was a home run even if Kawhi doesn’t stay. The Leafs don’t need to make this much of a massive deal with the talent already on the roster, but moving out players and picks to push your chances over the top could be that next step for the Maple Leafs’ search for a cup.

Culture, culture, culture, for the Blue Jays now

The less glamorous lesson the Blue Jays can learn from the Raptors is to invest in creating a winning culture in the locker room now. This Blue Jays team is loaded with young talent, but without motivation and leadership, it could be wasted.

Kyle Lowry, that type of talented leader is what the Blue Jays need… to keep because the equivalent is Marcus Stroman and he’s already here. Yes he’s loud, yes he’s polarizing, but more than anything he’s talented and he hates losing. If that winning mentality can rub off onto the young core entering the league now, it can only have positive results.

Ken Giles, Freddie Galvis, Justin Smoak. All of these players are being brought up in trade talks but all of them play an integral role in the team’s development. Galvis’ Latin leadership role, Giles’ intensity and winning mentality, and Smoak’s even-keeled mindset are all assets to this team.

These players aren’t superstars but they lead by example and they are currently trying to hold the young players on the team to a higher standard of play. Invest in more players like this and the team culture will continue to develop alongside the players.

Now is the time for celebration, Toronto. The only city with a non-US NBA team has lifted the Larry O’Brien trophy. As unlikely as it was to happen the blueprint is there for the other big Toronto sports teams to follow. Boiled down: don’t be afraid to bet on yourself, and a winning culture breeds success.

Wake up with Vladdy Guerrero Jr. smashing a classic homerun

The Blue Jays have already won the series with the Yankees ahead of game three. Game two was a showcase of home run crushing strength and team hitting led by the ever so legendary Vlad Guerrero Jr.

Guerrero’s three-run homer in the bottom of the 8th inning gave the Jays the lead as well as flashbacks to his dad hitting dogshit pitches out of stadiums:

The deep, one-handed swing on a ball that was an inch off the dirt – it’s an absolute carbon copy of Vladimir Guerrero Sr. and some of his absurd home runs. As much as the hitting gene clearly got passed on, so to did the clutch gene. Jr. bashed that ball in a time where the Yankee’s superior bullpen should have taken over this game. Instead,

The youth movement was working last night in the Big Smoke, with Guerrero leading the way. Gurriel scored twice on two walks, Jansen had a hit an a walk, Guerrero had two hits for himself including this three-run bomb, Cavan Biggio had a hit, two walks, and an RBI, and Teoscar Hernandez had a pair of doubles in his return to the big league club.

Shout out toe Randall Grichuk and Brandon Drury, too. The two more veteran players collectively had three home runs on four hits totaling four RBI’s to keep the Jays in the game. It’s early but it appears bringing in Drury and extending Grichuk is paying off for Atkins and Shapiro.

The team that is often criticized for not being competitive enough, but that’s simply not true as proved last night. The young-guns will get more and more comfortable with MLB pitching, and with that will come development and progress in the wins/losses column. One thing is certain when the bats are working, this team is VERY fun to watch.

Are Toronto Blue Jays fans the LEAST informed fanbase?

The Toronto Blue Jays are 62 games into the season and some fans are still shocked that the team isn’t pushing for the playoffs. The complete lack of understanding on what this team is built to do is astounding and really sheds light on the title question: are Toronto Blue Jays fans the least informed fanbase?

The short answer is an emphatic NO. But some can’t seem to grasp the idea of a rebuild and what it entails.

Rebuild. Say it with me, re-build.

Look over to the Toronto Maple Leafs of a few years ago. They brought in a management team to fill the cupboard with prospects and develop them, brought in a coach that has an individual style of managing his team, and insulated a young core with NHL veterans who would later be sold for prospects or picks.

Look around, Jays fans, that’s what’s happening here. The Toronto Blue Jays are amidst a rebuild, and while the product on the field isn’t all too exciting right now, it is well on it’s way to being a fully loaded, threatening AL East beast.

I guess the hardest part to swallow with the rebuild was the illusion that the team didn’t need to be rebuilt because of the success in the 2015 and 2016 season. Back-to-back playoff appearances with one down season to follow made the nose-dive into a rebuild a shocking turn of events.

However, when evaluating the farm system, it was needed. As great of a job as Alex Anthopoulos did bringing in top-tier talent, it was at the expense of prospects and draft picks. Now with Shapiro and Atkins at the helm, the Blue Jays have focused more on compiling and developing prospects to become MLB stars over selling them for aging veterans.

Realistically…

The frankly rude question this blog is focused around (are Blue Jays fans uneducated), is not directed at most members of the Blue Jays fanbase. No, it’s towards the loud minority who take to social media to either troll other fans or voice their displeasure while simultaneously boasting their lack of education on the process.

Drown out the negativity with realistic and appropriate expectations for a young, growing team. Losing can’t become an accepted norm, however, but the desire to prove their MLB chops should keep the young core motivated to continue performing all season long.

Jays fans can look to the Leafs and Mike Babcock for an immediate understanding of the rebuild process. Namely that pain is coming. Most of this pain has already happened or is currently happening so that’s a positive. The other biggest positive is the likes of Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Cavan Biggio, Lourdes Gurriel Jr. Rowdy Tellez, and Danny Janson already making an impact on the team and getting MLB experience.

Prepare for veterans to leave like Stroman, Sanchez, and Giles, and prepare for more losses. Bide your time with the losses, though. The way this team is being constructed is not for one or two more seasons of boom-or-bust playoff excitement, but for dynastic sustained success.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and the Toronto Blue Jays: Service Time for Dummies

It’s not the clearest of situations, but the service time rule for MLB players is a tool MLB teams are using on their superstars to save a year on their entry-level contracts. The Jays are ready to force their top prospect into this controversial situation, but it’s the right thing to do.

Basically, service time is a way of crediting a year-played on a players contract based on the number of games or days they play with a major league team.

When a player starts the season and stays in the minors for the first eight games of the season it limits them to less than 172 days in the major leagues. This adjusts their season down to less than a full year, saving a full season on their contract. Once a player plays less than 172 days they will not burn a year on their deal.

Sure, that’s extremely simplified and dumbed down, but that’s basically it. Toronto is going to start Vladimir Guerrero Jr. in the minors to ensure he’s a Blue Jay for at least one season longer.

And if you think Vlad Jr. missing a minimum of eight inconsequential games to start a meaningless (as far as standings are concerned) season is a bad thing, you might need to give your head a shake.

The argument against the manipulation of the service time rule is that players tend to have harsh feelings towards their ownership and front office because their development is being stunted for a team friendly option that also delays a big money contract. Fair points, but let’s check in on two recent high-value players who went through this process.

Kris Bryant – Chicago Cubs

Bryant being forced down to the minors for the first month of the Cubs 2015 season was a situation just about everyone who follows the MLB foresaw, but Bryant’s agent peddled the situation as a problem.

Bryant revealed there was “no bad blood” with the Cubs organization over the usage of the service time rule after he was called up to the team in 2015. With Bryant as their starting and starring third-baseman, the Cubs went on to the NL Divisional series with a 99-67 regular season record, eventually losing out to the Mets.

Just a day ago, Bryant has now come out saying the service time situation in the MLB obviously needs to change as he enters the season that could have been his new big money contract year. He’s still making $10.25 million out of arbitration, but that could be a fraction of what he’s worth. Weird timing, right?

Bryant played in 151 games, with 559 AB (his third highest in his career), hitting .275 BA, with 26 HR, and 99 RBIs.

Ronald Acuna Jr.

The highly touted prospect in the Atlanta Braves organization, Ronald Acuna Jr., was a victim of the service time rule usage last season. Yes, last season where he was THE breakout star of the season.

The GM of the Braves is a person many Jays fans should be aware of, Alex Anthopoulos, the former GM here in Toronto. AA seemed disinterested in considering the fallout of forcing Acuna to the minors for a few weeks to start the season, with reports suggesting he would make this move “for better or worse.

With Acuna Jr. now the face of the exciting, playoff contending Braves, it’s unlikely there are any hard feelings between the player and his team. He’s the face of the franchise and was still able to tee-off on his opposition last season, despite waiting a few weeks to start.

Last season, Acuna finished the season with 111 GP (injury caused missed time) and 433 AB. He hit for a .293 BA, 26 HR, and 64 RBIs.

What can we expect from the Jays and Vlad?

We can expect Ross Atkins to continue the narrative of Vladimir Guerrero Jr. being sent down to start the season in AAA to work on his defensive play. Also, expect for Atkins to be very open to Vlad joining the Blue Jays when he is ready and able to help the team.

From Vlad, there probably isn’t going to be much of a conversation. He’ll continue to play hard to try and win a starting position in spring training, stating that he just wants to play hard and try and help the Toronto Blue Jays become a better team.

If we as fans can take away anything from the past manipulations of service time, it’s that it is really a non-issue for the team and the player. We will get to see Vlad for a longer period of time in the long run and the team can weigh options on the roster ahead of him.

In the end, the only people who seem to have issues with the manipulation of this rule are player agents. Under the guise of caring for their players, agents are getting their massive paydays pushed back a season with the usage of this rule and are crying ‘development and unfairness’ to try and force their issues.

Valdimir Guerrero Jr. is looking THICC in spring training

Bordering NSFW for multiple reasons, the second coming of baseball assaulter Vlad Guerrero and the Blue Jay’s messiah Vlad Guerrero Jr. is busting out of his new Jay’s threads while punishing baseballs into the Florida stratosphere.

For any baseball fan, the crack of the bat is something that gives you goosebumps. If Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is attached to the end of that cracking bat, then you’ve got some content that will give any Blue Jays fan fits.

It’s early on in spring training, but Vlad is in Dunedin with the team and he’s mashing the ball like we all know he can. At this point in time we need to just credit his ability to lace a baseball into space on his physique. Don’t believe me? Just look:

Hmm, that massive trunk aka “power base” reminds me of someone…


Sports IllustratedExpo 2000

He’s got the bloodlines to be a massive success, and is about as close as you can get to a can’t miss prospect along the lines of Kris Bryant and Mike Trout. It’s early, he’s yet to do it in the majors, and he isn’t going to start the year with season with the team, but still, anyone that thicc (two c’s) deserves some attention.

I don’t care if he’s busting belt’s like Pablo Sandoval visiting the Rogers Center, or doing his best CC Sabathia impression on the field. Vlad Guerrero Jr. hype has me exciting for the 2019 season, and just may have me a little bit delirious, as I’ve used the word “thicc” multiple times in a baseball blog…

Who Did The Jays Get For Osuna?

With the trade of Roberto Osuna the Blue Jays got what they desperately needed in this rebuild – more pitching prospects. Despite losing a massive talent in Osuna, the move not only allows the Jays to move on from a PR nightmare but also allows for the very vocal fans of this team to morally support their team again.

The Jays got a solidified MLB closer in Ken Giles plus two prospect pitchers Hector Perez and David Paulino. The haul isn’t as massive as it would have been if Osuna wasn’t mired in a legal battle or currently suspended, however many have pointed out that any return for this player was a positive. Giles will immediately step into the MLB roster and should act as the closer, a role that has been vacant since Osuna’s suspension.

So, who are these players the Jays acquired, and how do they stack up?

Ken Giles:

  • Age: 27, Throws: right
  • career 2.72 ERA, 367 strike outs in 274.2 innings pitched
  • 77 career saves

2018 Stats:

  • 34 games played in MLB
  • 4.99 ERA
  • His ever important FIP is 2.28
  • 1.279 WHIP
  • 9.1 SO/9
  • 12 saves

Giles has had a troubled year and the Blue Jays are hoping that a change of scenery could help him recapture his form. It is a bit of a gamble, but the stakes are currently low with the rebuilding Jays. Giles can come in and immediately look to be the closer despite his poor 2018 showing so far. There are issues with his attitude, as he was sent to AAA this season after telling his manager to “Fuck off” after pulling him after blowing a 4-0 save opportunity, but a new team should distance him from this issue.

As an immediate impact player, Giles will likely keep his head down in Toronto and should look himself again with lower stakes than a World-Series-or-bust team like the Houston Astros.

Hector Perez:

  • Age: 22, Throws: right
  • Has pitched in High A ball and AA this season, appearing in 21 games total

2018 Stats (A+17 games):

  • Started 11 of 17 games in A+, totaling 72.2 innings
  • 3-3 record
  • ERA 3.87
  • 2 registered saves in addition to starting games
  • 1.239 WHIP
  • 10.3 SO/9

Hector Perez slots in to the Blue Jays prospect rankings at #11 (coming from Houston’s 10 spot). Baseballprospectus.com have described his “nasty stuff” as potential closer material in the future. He uses a plus fastball/slider combination to keep hitters on their toes, but lacks major league control. Control and subsequent walks have been an issue for him in his minor league tenure, however with more development time he could be a potential important arm for the Jays.

David Paulino:

  • Age: 24, Throws: right
  • Has pitched in three games for the Astros with a 2-1 record and 6.25 ERA since 2016

2018 Stats

  • 7gp in AAA in 2018
  • 0-0 record, 27 IP
  • ERA 4.67
  • 33/6 SO/BB
  • 1.074 WHIP
  • 11 SO/9

David Paulino is a very talent, towering pitching prospect with some off field issues. After a positive PED test in July of 2017 Paulino was suspended for 80 games by the MLB. The 6’7″ pitcher was as high as 3rd on the Astros prospect list and 44th in the MLB, but plummeted to 24th in the organization. The time missed has hurt his development, but if he can get back on track his fastball is major league quality. His pitches come from a ridiculous plane top of his massive frame and release point. He doesn’t have as many tools as Perez, but his raw ability he has to throw the fastball is his biggest asset. Patience is key for Paulino who has big league potential as either a starter or bullpen arm.

 

All stats via www.baseball-reference.com

Atkins Double-Talks and Folds To Social Media Pressure; Osuna Traded

The Toronto Blue Jays have traded their closer Roberto Osuna to the Houston Astros for RHP Ken Giles, RHP Hector Perez, and RHP David Paulino. Osuna is currently in the minors after sitting out 75 games for a domestic violence arrest. While Osuna has not been criminally convicted of anything, the Jays felt the need to move on from their prolific 23 year old closer who boasts a career 2.87 ERA, 104 saves, and 253 strike outs.

It is no secret that the Blue Jays management team has been feeling some heat regarding the impending reinstatement of Osuna to the big league team. On June 29th Atkins was asked about Osuna and the trade deadline and responded by saying “We’ll be adding a closer on Aug. 5… Roberto is our closer.” So what has changed in a months time?

Atkins offers little to no information or personality for that matter when talking to the media; frankly its a waste of the radio hosts, TV interviewers, and viewers time. Usually its because he dances around questions and manages to fill time with nondescript cliches before ending the interview, however in this occasion he just flat out lied to Blue Jays fans. It would be understandable if the Astros offered a massive package for Osuna but as it stands now, the return is underwhelming to say the least.

And despite what bloggers, radio hosts, TV presenters, and writers (who constantly boast that they root for stories, not for teams) will tell you, the Jays are a worse off baseball team after this trade, and will be for years to come.

So the rich get richer in Houston and the MLB, its fans, and its media members are all okay with that. So why did the Blue Jays have to move on from their franchise closer? Because there is a double standard in the MLB that favours the likes of World Series contending teams and shits on teams that are out of contention, or ya know are in Canada. It’s not a conspiracy theory either, just fact.

Take Aroldis Chapman for instance. The 100+mph closer for the New York Yankees had charges dropped after his wife failed to cooperate with law enforcement following Chapman’s arrest for discharging a fire arm eight times into a wall during a domestic dispute. Chapman served a 30 games suspension for his involvement in the incident despite the charges being dropped.

Chapman has pitched for the Cubs and Yankees since his suspension, two of the leagues most iconic franchises, with no problem. He wasn’t convicted, as Osuna hasn’t been, and has not been blackballed by the league for his involvement in an incident that deemed a 30-game suspension by the league. If we put this into Osuna terms there are two major groups – happy Houston fans for getting a legitimate elite closer, and pissed off Jays fans for having to lose their franchise closer due to the court of public opinion. Again, don’t let the twitter charlatans tell you other wise with their social justice pushing agendas.

The Astros now have an alleged woman beater in Roberto Osuna and a confirmed racist in Yuli Gurriel on their roster and are poised for another deep playoff run in hopes of repeating their World Series success – as I said before the rich get richer. Gurriel taunted Dodgers pitcher Yu Darvish following a home run making a “slanted eye” gesture and yelling “chinito”, which means Chinese boy, (Darvish is Japanese and Iranian) at the pitcher from the dug out. Gurriel served a five game suspension and happily returned to life as a major league player… without having to switch teams.

As for Osuna he was recently followed around by a camera crew from SportsNet to recant his arduous journey to the major leagues. This documentary shed light on his life and his struggles with anxiety, an affliction that kept him out of the Jays line up for multiple games in 2017. Osuna was a likeable character at the start of this season and a guy a lot of people were cheering for. Now he has become the incarnation of evil, as twitter would have you believe, and needed to be moved regardless of return.

Above all, however Osuna is human and humans make mistakes – some less forgivable and more incriminating than others, but nonetheless what Osuna allegedly did was a mistake. He is currently paying the price for it, having his name dragged through the mud across social media, but if he helps the Astros win another World Series mark my works it will be a redemption story proudly presented to us by the same people who demanded he be traded – because of their integrity.

The Blue Jays integrity, something many have quoted as the reason for moving Osuna, has done a terrific job in getting a return for their closer. A return that includes a player who was suspended 80 games for PEDs, and another who was demoted to AAA this season for telling his manager to “fuck off” after he pulled him for blowing a 4-0 save.

Facts are facts and stats are stats – Ross Atkins has lied to the Blue Jays fans, and the team is worse off for it today and in the future. I thought these guys were supposed to be good at rebuilds?

*This blog is not in defence of Roberto Osuna or his actions, but rather a light being shed on the hypocrisy and double standard expressed by the MLB and MLB media members.

Happ and Oh Dealt for Minor League Depth – The Rebuild is On

I guess Ross Atkins and Mark Shapiro do have a way with trades, as J.A. Happ and Seung Hwan Oh have been dealt for two prospects each. Both pitchers have had excellent seasons for the Blue Jays and were likely to move. The return of prospects highlights Shapiro and Atkins’ area of expertise: minor league development and asset management.

Happ had moved into #1 trade bait territory for the Jays since Donaldson’s injury plagued year had set him up on the DL for most of the first half of the season. With the Mariners, Brewers, Cubs, and Yankees interested the price would have seemingly rose with such immense competition for the leftie ace. But on the contrary, Happ struggled in his last few starts and the price had to drop for the rental player. The Yankees ended up winning the race but still gave up a nice return for the Jays ace.

Originally it was believed OF Clint Frazier or LHP Justus Sheffield would have to be involved in a deal for Happ, but instead the Jays pick up INF 3B Brandon Drury, and OF Billy McKinney. The haul is still impressive for the Blue Jays on this deal.

Drury was picked up in the off season from Arizona by the Yankees as a depth option at third base. With the emergence of Miguel Andujar at third base and Gleyber Torres at second base Drury simply didn’t have room on the Yankees roster anymore and was moved. Think of Randall Grichuk from St. Louis – outfield depth pushed him out of the organization and they needed to capitalize on his value in a trade. Drury is just 25 years old and comes with three years of contract control. He has had a down year offensively, hitting below .200 but has all the ability to straighten things out and get back in form for his new team.

Drury’s acquisition is interesting seeing as there is a theoretical logjam at third base for the Jays. Solarte, Donaldson, Gurriel Jr. and Vlad – all are lining up for the spot. Until Donaldson gets traded or resigns on a likely one year deal we can only hypothesize about his future with the Jays, but the pick up of Drury does make Solarte’s future a little less clear.

Billy McKinney adds more competition to the outfield job in Blue Jay land. The 20th ranked prospect in the Yankees system has the ability to play in all outfield positions and has spent time at first base as well. His versatility in the field is undoubtedly attractive as a plug-and-play player is always more useful to a manager. According to pinstripedprospects.com McKinney’s bat is above average. Hitting from the left side of the plate McKinney has a smooth stroke and level swing. Since promotion to AAA he has sacrificed some of his plate discipline in a more power-hitting approach. Overall, there is a good chance that McKinney will be an everyday outfielder in the majors.

So Happ returns a developed prospect for third base, and a developing player in the outfield – not bad!

Seung Hwan Oh was moved to the Colorado rockies for two prospects as well. The Jays pick up first baseman Chad Spanberger, OF Forrest Wall, and a player to be named later or cash.

Oh had been Toronto’s most reliable bullpen arm this season putting up a 2.68 ERA over 47 innings of play. The Final Boss (a nickname he earned in St. Louis) can close, set up, or be a middle relief pitcher and brings a veteran presence to the bullpen with him. Colorado are gearing up for a playoff run and have added an interesting and versatile piece to their pitching ranks.

For Toronto they add another prospect to challenge Rowdy Tellez to the future of the Blue Jays first base in Chad Spanberger. Spanberger was the Rockies’ 24th overall prospect and is impressing in A-ball this season. Currently sitting at a .315 average, Spanberger has 22 home runs to his name, 75 RBIs, and an OBP of .363. Through 92 games this season he has improved on his 2017 numbers and should be pressing for a AA promotion to New Hampshire.

Forrest Wall the newest member of the Jays outfield prospect pool settles in at #23 on the Jays prospect rankings. He has suffered some injuries which have stunted his prospect development, however he is healthy and looking to get his numbers back on track. Currently hitting .206 in AA with 6 home runs and 12 RBIs, Wall needs to regain his plate discipline. He is a leftie hitter which always adds value to prospects, and has the ability to hit the deep ball or spread the ball to all fields. More of a project than cant-miss prospect, Wall will need patience in order to regain his form in the Blue Jays system. The competitive AA New Hampshire Fisher Cats team could help reignite him and get him back on track.

So it’s officially begun. The Jays are moving out rental type players who have value to playoff contenders. What is next for Jays management is the search for pitching prospects to support and replace the likes of Borucki and Sean-Reid Foley in the minors. Perhaps Solarte, Granderson, and even Donaldson could be next in the clear out and rebuild of the Jays roster.

All stats from milb.com

Blue Jays Should Invest In Rowdy Tellez… Now

Two points of clarification:
“Invest” = Give him major league game time at DH/1B
“Now” = This season

With a name like Rowdy the Blue Jays social media team is praying for this prospect to make the jump to the majors, but is that roster move in the teams hands or the players?

Tellez, a 30th round draft pick by the Blue Jays in 2013 draft is currently 23 years old and ranked 95th* overall in the MLB prospect rankings system. Despite that spot on the rankings list Tellez had a down 2017, taking the wind out of his sales from 2016 where he hit 23 home runs and collected 81 RBIs, all with a batting average of .297 in 514 plate appearances. Tellez’s 2017 numbers saw his home runs total shrink to 6, RBIs dropped to 56, and his average bottomed out at . 222 in 501 plate appearances.

After a stronger start to the 2018 season Tellez has begun finding that consistency in his game, raising his average and offensive production in AAA Buffalo this season. He’s currently hitting .255 with 7 home runs, 33 RBIs and a .331 OBP through 73 games.While these numbers aren’t elite they are trending in the right direction for the young first baseman. Things are clicking for Rowdy and it may be time to find out if he has the makings of a major league player or if he is an asset the Blue Jays can move on from.

It should also be mentioned that 2017 saw Tellez forced to leave the field for family issues surrounding his mothers health. After being declared cancer free the weight was lifted from the Jays prospect and it has allowed him to step back into his life as a baseball player. Players are people, and prospects are kids. This is a truth a lot of fans don’t grasp because of the fame and money that comes with being a professional athlete – for Tellez he had to do a lot of maturing off the field with his personal life that forced him to step away from baseball.

As mentioned his position is first base and with both Justin Smoak and Kendrys Morales occupying that job (with the other in the DH role) one would likely need to move. With the Blue Jays in a rebuild (sorry but they are) one or both could be used to acquire prospects and picks to accelerate the process. Smoak has a lot more upside for trade return because his power is matched with above average defence, but the Jays could hold onto him to help tide over the fanbase during their ‘retooling’.

Morales should be moved if there are any suitors for him, hell send over some cash and low draft picks to make a deal come to fruition if you have to. Morales is over the hill production wise and is still owed $12 million for one more year after this season. Moving him would open up a roster spot for a promotion and would also ease the books for Shapiro and co.

Now, Tellez shows a lot of promise and upside at the plate but how is he defensively? Lets say he is closer to Morales at first base than Smoak. While there is truth to the old adage “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks”, Tellez is just 23 and has a lot of tricks he still needs to learn. Major league exposure to first base and being the understudy of one of the best defensive first basemen in the league has nothing but upside for the Jays and is an opportunity they shouldn’t let slip away.

This season is already a wash and if Atkins and Shapiro can find some trading partners for some of their veteran trade chips, Tellez and friends could earn some late season big league reps to help them develop. Rowdy has all the makings of a middle of the order bat – strong and physically big (6’4″) with good lower body power generation in his swing. Let him adjust to major league pitching at the major leagues. The worst that could happen is the Jays find out what they have in one of their highest ranked organizational prospects.

*at 2017, has since dropped out of the top 100 in 2018.