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Does a trade involving Roberto Osuna make sense?

The 22-year-old reliever has ingrained himself in the Blue Jays’ bullpen. But is it time to consider his value elsewhere?

Kansas City Royals v Toronto Blue Jays
Roberto Osuna of the Toronto Blue Jays celebrates their victory with Russell Martin during MLB game action against the Kansas City Royals at Rogers Centre on September 19, 2017 in Toronto, Canada.
Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images

Multiple teams have asked the Toronto Blue Jays about 22-year-old All-Star reliever Roberto Osuna, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reported Sunday.

So far this offseason, there hasn’t been much discussion about Osuna’s market. The Blue Jays, who publicly state that they plan to compete in 2018, would be fools to trade Osuna, a player who won’t be a free agent until after the 2021 season.

In 2017, Osuna’s age 22 season and his third with the Blue Jays, he posted a 3.38 ERA but 1.74 FIP. He pitched 64 innings, the lowest total of his career so far. At the same time, he did finish 58 games, the most in the American League, and was just 10 innings short of his 2016 total.

Osuna commanded the strike zone, posting a strikeout-to-walk ratio of 9.22, much higher than his 5.86 rate in 2016 and 4.69 rate in 2015. He was a first-time All-Star in 2017 and worth 1.5 wins above replacement.

Still, despite Osuna’s dominance so early in his career, it makes logical sense to at least entertain the idea of trading him. The starting rotation and outfield is a clear area of need for Toronto this offseason and the bullpen, although shallow, is an area of strength for the Blue Jays. If the Blue Jays, using Osuna as a bartering chip, acquired players that fill their needs, a trade could be worthwhile.

That being said, Toronto’s goal remains: to compete in 2018. If a trade of Osuna fails to make the major league roster better in 2018, it’s extremely unlikely to happen, even if it makes sense in the long run.

The same stands for a trade involving Josh Donaldson. If Vladimir Guerrero Jr. remains at third base, the Blue Jays will have a future All-Star at the position in 2019 and beyond, rendering Donaldson, a candidate to be extended, a redundancy on the roster.

With just one more year of team control, it makes lots of sense to trade Donaldson, even if it leaves third base an area of need for 2018. But, since a trade involving the third baseman would be unlikely to improve the 25-man roster in the immediate future, it almost certainly won’t happen.

In the end, teams have inquired about both players, but both potential deals seem unlikely given Toronto’s plans to compete in 2018. Unless the Blue Jays decide not to aim for competition next season.

And that’s another rabbit hole I’m not willing to go down.