December is right around the corner, which means that it's time for Christmas decorations to go up annoyingly early in department stores, Americans to watch football and stuff themselves with delicious turkey, and hilarious trade rumors to swirl around baseball.
Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe recently wrote a piece wherein he reveals that the Blue Jays may entertain offers for Jose Bautista (we discussed those here over the weekend). Alex Anthopoulos is quite the active GM, so it would seem to make sense that the Jays would be willing to listen on offers. From the article:
"The Jays are desperate for at least two starting pitchers and dealing Bautista may land them one. ‘It's a name we're hearing through backchannels right now, but wouldn't be surprised if he's available' said an NL general manager."
Are backchannels different from frontchannels? Are backchannels more reliable than frontchannels? What is a frontchannel? Shouldn't back channel be two words?
Blue Jays starting pitching was, in fact, quite unspectacular last year, in case you were unaware. Here is a handy image to show you just how unspectacular the rotation was in 2013. I was saving it for another piece, but I guess it applies here too.
So, who might be in need of some corner outfield help, and what could the Jays expect in return?
Recent Similar Trades
First off, here are two trades in recent years that involved premium corner outfielders acquired with team control for at least one year.
Atlanta Braves acquire Justin Upton from the Arizona Diamondbacks
Atlanta received Upton and third baseman Chris Johnson in exchange for infielder Martin Prado, right-hander Randall Delgado, shortstop prospect Nick Ahmed, right-handed pitching prospect Zeke Spruill and minor league first baseman Brandon Drury.
Spruill was ranked ninth on Baseball America's list of top Braves prospects at the time, while the other two prospects involved were unranked.
San Francisco Giants acquire Hunter Pence from the Philadelphia Phillies
Giants received Pence in exchange for outfielder Nate Schierholtz, minor league reliever Seth Rosin, and minor league catcher Tommy Joseph.
Joseph was ranked as the number two prospect in the Giants system at the time, with Rosin going unrated by Baseball America.
There were other examples as well that didn't quite match up with the Bautista ‘situation', such as the Cardinals' acquisition of Matt Holliday, or the Giants' trade for Carlos Beltran, which were rental situations.
Bautista has two years and $28 million guaranteed left on his contract, which expires at the end of the 2015 season.
Some Possible Matches
Assuming that teams looking to acquire Bautista would only be teams contending or on the verge of contending for a playoff position, here are some possible trade partners for the Blue Jays.
I am not going to name players and fantasize about fake trades, because good lord do I hate that. Every single time I read something like JOSE BAUTISTA FOR DOMONIC BROWN PLUS I get very annoyed. Who would even think to do that though, hah hah.
If Bautista were in fact to be traded, recall that the Jays are looking for pitching help. I'll list some pitchers who could possibly be available.
I feel as though the opening in right field created with Bautista leaving could be filled with an Anthony Gose/Moises Sierra platoon.
The Athletics currently have Josh Reddick in right field, who produced a slash line of .226/.307/.379 with 2.7 WAR in 2013
I feel as though any of Oakland's starters could be available. Jarrod Parker, Brett Anderson, Dan Straily, AJ Griffin and others could fill the void in the Jays rotation.
TRADE: Blue Jays acquire Jarrod Parker and haha kidding I said I wouldn't do this
The Diamondbacks have Adam Eaton (-0.5 WAR), Cody Ross (1.8), Gerardo Parra (4.6), and AJ Pollock (3.6) on the roster. Those are some good numbers! There could still be interest in Bautista, and at this point I legitimately have no idea what I'm talking about anymore, so I'm just going to list some pitchers who could come to Toronto.
Patrick Corbin, Wade Miley, Brandon McCarthy, Randall Delgado, Tyler Skaggs. Hooray.
St. Louis Cardinals
Of all the teams who could possibly matchup with the Blue Jays for a potential Jose Bautista trade, the Cardinals might actually...make sense? They have a good amount of (young!) pitching, and with the departure of Carlos Beltran, could be looking for a solid right field option.
Right now, Jason Martinez at MLB Depth Charts has Allen Craig in right and Matt Adams at first base, but...I don't know? Adams was very good last year but Bautista would be quite the addition. This is all speculation anyway so weeeeeee!
Potentially available starters could be Shelby Miller, Michael Wacha, or Joe Kelly. They are all quite good, and 22, 23, and 25 years old respectively.
I have now written nearly 800 words on potentially trading Jose Bautista, and teams who might matchup with the Blue Jays for a trade, and all I have determined is that being an MLB general manager must be incredibly difficult.
Based on the Justin Upton and Hunter Pence deals, it seems as though the Jays would be looking at acquiring one MLB caliber player - that would be the starter they are looking for - as well as a few non-top prospects. So keep that in mind this winter when Bautista does not get traded.
Who would you like the Jays to acquire in return for Jose Bautista?