MLB Rumors: Blue Jays Most Likely to Be Traded

Tim MackayCorrespondent IApril 23, 2012

MLB Rumors: Blue Jays Most Likely to Be Traded

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    With the first significant trade of the MLB season occurring over the weekend, involving the Red Sox, Cubs and Orioles, Blue Jays fans might be thinking about their team's trade outlook.

    Based on the way the first few weeks of the season have gone in Toronto, the team has clear organizational needs and assets and GM Alex Anthopoulos said last week that he's hoping to add another strong power bat in the middle of his lineup.

    With that in mind, here's a look at the Jays most likely to be wearing different uniforms by the end of 2012. 

1. A Pitching Prospect

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    A huge area of strength in the Jays minor league system is starting pitching. 

    Between Noah Syndergaard, Drew Hutchison, Daniel Norris, Justin Nicolino, Aaron Sanchez, and Deck McGuire, the Jays have the deepest pool of pitching prospects in the majors. 

    Historically, pitching prospects are assets that are both central pieces and deal-breakers, meaning GM Alex Anthopoulos has the flexibility to get a deal done. 

    Which one of the prospects gets dealt is another debate and depends entirely on how the organization ranks each of them and what the potential return will be. 

2. Travis Snider, LF

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    Snider is a major-league outfielder. For a number of different reasons, he is currently being wasted in Triple-A. 

    In 16 games so far for the Las Vegas 51s, Snider is hitting .431 with four home runs, 22 RBI and a 1.269 OPS. 

    Blue Jays fans can only hope that Snider is called up at some point and continues to play the way he has in Triple-A. If that happens, he's certain to stay in Toronto. 

    When Snider is called up—and without a doubt he will be—he'll need to play well or else Anthopoulos will start fielding phone calls on his up-and-down left fielder. 

3. JP Arencibia, C

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    JP Arencibia has Travis D'Arnaud breathing down his neck. 

    Arencibia can relax for the time being, considering his defence is much improved from 2011 and he's actually been a very productive hitter so far in 2012. On top of that, D'Arnaud has struggled in 15 games in Triple-A so far so a call up isn't imminent. 

    But the fact remains that D'Arnaud has the potential to make Arencibia expendable.

    While JP's power is valuable from the catching position so long as he remains in the bottom third of the Jays lineup, but his .196 batting average isn't going to cut it. 

    The thing that's most frustrating about Arencibia is that he hit .301 in his last full season in Triple-A and struck out much less frequently

    It might be his failure to hit to his potential that forces Anthopoulos to send him packing. 

4. David Cooper, 1B

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    There have been rumours circling around the Jays' Triple-A first baseman for a few months.

    He's in a similar position to Snider in that he's shown that he can dominate at the Triple-A level but has yet to translate that into MLB success. In 2011, all Cooper did was win the batting title in the Pacific Coast League. The knock on Cooper are his power numbers especially since he plays first base.

    However, a team looking for another solid bat with high upside could take a chance on Cooper. 

    He could be the next Kevin Youkilis considering his spectacular on-base percentage and plate discipline. 

    On second thought, the Jays might be better off holding on to Cooper. 

5. Brandon Morrow, SP

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    Blue Jay fans might be surprised and somewhat upset by Morrow's inclusion on this list, but that doesn't mean he shouldn't be on it. 

    Since Morrow is probably the most valuable trading asset in the Jays organization after Jose Bautista and possibly Ricky Romero, the return would have to be incredibly significant. For any trade involving Morrow, the Jays would need a young, proven hitter with massive upside. 

    Pitchers always have more trade value and with that in mind, the Jays would theoretically need a player with more potential or more talent than Morrow coming back. 

    However, if Alex Anthopoulos is serious about adding a big bat in the middle of the Jays lineup, he may have to consider the option of including his No. 2 pitcher in a deal.