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The way forward from the trade deadline

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The non-waiver deadline is now in the rear view mirror, and the Blue Jays are now officially playing out the string in 2017. The line from the front office is still they that see 2018 was a contention season rather than a rebuilding year, and while I'm skeptical both that's what they actually think and that it's the wisest course of action, it's not a pressing issue as decisions on Josh Donaldson, J.A. Happ and others won't need to be made for three or four months during the offseason.

What I want to focus on now is things that can be done between now and the end of the regular to potentially and hopefully build value for the future, whatever the direction in 2018 and beyond.

Starting Rotation

The biggest question here is Marco Estrada, both in terms of on-field and off-field considerations. The possibility of working out an extension has been raised, and considering that even a rebuilding team needs innings filled, there's certainly merit to the notion.

However, if that doesn't come to pass, there's also the possibility for realizing value in an August trade, especially if Estrada can build on his previous start. There wasn't enough interest in Estrada to move him at the deadline, presumably with the Jays willing to eat most of the remaining salary to maximize the return coming back. If that's the case, it's conceivable that no team would right now take on the $4.5-million or so he's due for the remainder of the season, and he'd clear waivers. A couple more solid starts, and that could reopen the trade avenue, while not precluding a 2018 reunion in free agency.

Beyond Estrada, there's still an open slot in the rotation. It looks like Mike Bolsinger will probably get a shot at that, but I'd be interested in seeing what Chris Rowley could do. To be frank, I probably wouldn't be expecting given that his fastball tops out around 90-91 with useful but not plus offspeed pitches, but why not reward his performance and ascent with a shot. He might well be another Bolsinger (AAAA pitcher who can get upper minors hitters out by locating), but we have a pretty idea of what Bolsinger can (and cannot) do, we don't with Rowley. He could also take the Valdez spot on essentially he same logic.

If they still see Joe Biagini as a potentially viable starter, it would make sense to give him a couple months of starts too, though given the ramp-up timeline that might be off the table.


There's an opportunity here to get a look at some arms that could help in the future, with only four (Roberto Osuna, Ryan Tepera, Dominic Leone, Biagini) right now figuring as long term pieces. J.P. Howell obviously doesn't, maybe someone needing a lefty would take a flyer on him. Aaron Loup is probably in the same boat at this point.

There are some minor league arms I would be interested in seeing. From the left side, Tim Mayza has good stuff, good a good look in spring training, and seems to have ironed out his command some the last couple months. I'd imagine he goes on the 40-man anyway this winter, so let's see what he can do.

The one who is perhaps most interesting is Carlos Ramirez, the outfielder who converted to pitching just three years ago, and having missed significant time in both of the last two years. He's got a promising low/mid 90s fastball/slider combination, and the performance (0.00 ERA, 26/7 K/BB in 21.2 AA innings) has been great. He was and will be a free agent at the end of the year if not on the 40-man, so let's at least get a look at him.

The final one would be John Stilson, though he recently went in the disabled list. Assuming it's only minor, let's see what he can do too. Despite all the injuries the last couple years, he can still run up it there into the mid-90s, and though struggled with command at times, there still might be a decent middle reliever in there.


Darwin Barney is a free agent at year's end, and doesn't fit into the longer term plans. With his bat showing some signs of life recently, it would make sense to shop him to a contender looking for a surehanded veteran to bolster their middle infield or defensive bench depth. This wouldn't be about getting something back, it would be about opening up everyday playing time for Rob Refsnyder over the next two months (for better or worse).

This same would be true of Ryan Goins, if not for the seemingly season-ending injury to Troy Tulowitzki. Barring an interesting waiver wire pick-up or trade, there's no more compelling option for the playing time (unless they wanted to get really aggressive with Richard Urena or Lourdes Gurriel, both already on the 40-man), so he stays and his future gets decided in the winter.


This is tough. There's plenty of prospects in line for playing time to audition, headlined by the recently acquired Teoscar Hernandez. But between Jose Bautista, Ezequiel Carrera and Steve Pearce, there's not exactly much playing time to be had in the corners. Would they move Bautista just to open some up (if he would accept a move)? It would be a really sad way for a franchise icon to depart. But the coldly rational calculation is it's probably the way to go.


Danny Jansen will be Rule 5 eligible this winter, and is a lock to be added to be 40-man, so calling him up in September would be an option, both rewarding his 2017 season and to get his proverbial feet wet and see how he handles MLB pitchers (both at and behind the plate). The same case applies to Reese McGuire, though he's just coming back after losing a significant portion of last year, and it's necessarily a lock for the 40-man.

With that in mind, and Luke Maile's potentially being available, Miguel Montero could end up sidelined, so if anyone wanted him as depth for a month, he could move again.