Thursday, 7 July 2011

Blue Jays Biggest Trade Chip?

Toronto Blue Jays second baseman Aaron Hill (2)
Photo by Keith Allison licensed under Creative Commons
At this point in the year it is saddening to say, but also safe to say that the Blue Jays will be sellers at this years trade deadline. But then the question is who to trade, because the Jays team right now consists of mainly young guys who hold the future of the team and the Jays definitely aren't in firesale mode so guys like Lind and Romero won't be traded. Though in my eyes the guys that the Jays could trade include Jon Rauch, Octavio Dotel, Frank Francisco, Jason Frasor, Aaron Hill, Corey Patterson, and Carlos Villaneuva. Some of the guys on this list may be a little unlikely, but with the silent assassin as our general manager, you never know what could happen.

Jon Rauch, Octavio Dotel
The reason that I clump these two guys together is that they are pretty similar in terms of play and contract. Both have about a 4.00 ERA and both their xFIPs suggest that their ERAs should be higher. Regarding the contracts of Dotel and Rauch, they are fairly similar both have the two players making about $3 million this year along with $3.5 million options for next. The options may be appealing to a team because it gives them an extra year of control and still at a formidable price. Some teams these guys could be shipped off to includes Detroit, St. Louis, and Texas, all teams who could use some bullpen help. These two are probably the more likely bullpen pieces to be traded. Though Anthopolous surely won't be giving either of these guys away as they do have an extra year of control and both project to be Type B free agents.

Frank Francisco, Jason Frasor
The reason I clump Francisco and Frasor together is because they too have contract similarities, as well they are two players I believe are more unlikely to be traded. The contracts of these two guys are one year each with no options at about $3.75 million a piece. Why I don't see them being traded is in Francisco's case, it seems like the Jays believe that he is and should be their closer, which I don't necessarily agree with, but whatever. As well it will be hard to trade away Frasor who has the longest tenure with the Jays of all current Blue Jays. Also the Jays need at least one solid bullpen piece to somewhat hold late leads. Even if the Jays do trade away Frasor, I know it will be a hard loss, but I think he would resign with them in the offseason.

Aaron Hill
We all know the story of Aaron Hill. The once great player, whose career seemed to have its climax in 2009, with everything after just getting worse and worse. I wrote more about this in the previous article "The Rise of One, The Fall of Another". But as I stated in that article I would welcome the trading of Hill to whatever team still believes in him. Though as I also stated I don't see that being a likely possibility. The reasons being as I stated that the Jays are weak when it comes to middle infielders, with only Hech in the higher part of the farm system. Then the fact that the 2B free agent class this year isn't great, though Anthopolous has had interest in the past in one free agent second basemen Kelly Johnson. But Johnson isn't exactly having an All-Star year either. So it leaves the Jays with the realization that if they trade Hill they won't have anything else to fill the spot other than John Macdonald who is great defensively, but isn't stellar with the bat.

Corey Patterson
Now to Corey, the former top prospect who never really panned out. The Jays saw him and gave him a shot with a minor league contract this year. Earlier in the year it didn't look bad because Patterson was performing and we were able to plug his bat into the lineup every once in a while with Snider and Bautista manning the corner outfield spots. Then Snider was demoted to AAA to "revamp" his swing. This left us with the understanding that we would have to plug either Juan or Corey into left field and we really couldn't afford Juan's catcher like figure trying to run around and attempt to adequately fill left field. So this left us with Corey Patterson, a guy who really shouldn't be a major league starter, but the Jays were almost forced to plug his bat into the lineup everyday. Though now that we have Thames and Snider in Toronto and Loewen in Vegas, we really have no need for Patterson and we can trade him away. He probably wouldn't bring much value but there is still teams who would give away a lower tier prospect for him. As was said in a Fangraphs article he could be this year's Cody Ross. Teams that may try to get Patterson includes the Diamondbacks and the Braves, both playoff contenders in need of an extra bat.

Carlos Villaneuva
Now finally to Carlos Villaneuva, a pitcher that I have heard no body really talk about in terms of trade, but a guy who is 5-1 with a 3.24 ERA  should garner some interest. Especially when teams know that the Jays may be looking to shed a pitcher whether its Jo-Jo or Villaneuva. Because the Jays have 2 guys in Litsch and Drabek who could be pitching in the majors come August as well as a stocked farm system with such top prospects as Zach Stewart, Henderson Alvarez, and Deck McGuire. So shedding a guy like Villaneuva who is pitching much better than he should be according to his xFIP of 4.13 wouldn't be such a bad thing, if the team is overpaying. If the Jays could get even a C level prospect for him than that would be more than enough. As well the fact that he only makes less than a million this year helps out. Teams like Cleveland, Detroit, and Arizona.

I think that our overall biggest trade chip would have to be Carlos Villaneuva, just based on the way he has played this year and I do think that he could help a contending team such as Arizona who has been known to be looking to add smaller pieces at the deadline. Other guys who I do expect to be traded include Corey Patterson and Jon Rauch. The other guys still could get traded, but I think with the situation that those guys are in and how they both excelled early, they would be most likely to go. Though none of these trade chips will net us any top shelf picks, but they can still get some positive contributors to our farm system. Because you never know what you have in a player until you can fully evaluate him yourself and as Jose Bautista has shown, anything can happen. 

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