Toronto Blue Jays Trade Scenarios: Sluggers the Jays Should Target
The Toronto Blue Jays need to make a trade.
Whether or not they should make the trade today, tomorrow or 12 months from now is the million dollar question.
Either way, the team has several significant needs in their lineup.
On opening day 2012, it was clear that the Jays needed another consistent starter and a solution at first base. Whether those holes would be filled internally or externally was still up in the air. The bullpen was a question mark but never a very large one.
Now, it's certainly clear that the team still needs another starter. Kyle Drabek and Henderson Alvarez are here to stay, but Drew Hutchison—in spite of his recent success—looks like he needs more time in the minors.
It's also clear that they need a real, concrete solution at first base.
Adam Lind may be back in the majors at some point in 2012, but fans are right to be confused at the direction the organization is taking with regard to their long-term plan at first.
With those needs in mind, here's a look at potential trade options at first base.
Justin Morneau, Minnesota
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There, I said it.
The Jays should be making a big push to acquire Morneau from the Twins, and it has absolutely nothing to do with the fact that he's Canadian.
It has to do with the fact that the Jays need options at first base and Morneau would be a relatively cheap, high-risk, high-reward acquisition. At this point, the Twins wouldn't need much to take away Morneau's $14 million contract, which expires at the end of 2014.
And realistically, what are the Jays other options?
They could continue experimenting with David Cooper, move Encarnacion to first base and call up Guerrero or they could add a first baseman through a trade.
The final option is the best choice.
The question then becomes whether the timing is correct to make a deal.
Morneau's health is a huge question-mark, but beyond Kevin Youkilis, the Jays don't have a lot of options.
Every trade is a risk, but at the very least, a Morneau trade would prove that the Jays are willing to take some chances to become contenders, put more fans in the seats and add offensive depth to a team that is struggling to score.
Kevin Youkilis, Boston
The Jays have zero chance of landing Youkilis, but GM Alex Anthopoulos should at least be considering the idea of compiling an appealing package for the "Greek God of Walks."
July will be dominated with Youkilis news and rumors despite the fact that the Red Sox have a team option on his contract for 2013. For whatever reason, it seems as though Youkilis may be traded before July 31.
And if the Sox are indeed entertaining offers, the Jays have to be involved. A first baseman with the talent and consistency that he possesses is exactly what Toronto needs.
Again, if he is traded, it will be a cold day in hell before it's to an American League contender like the Jays, but stranger things have happened. If Anthopoulos can put together the most appealing package, it will make it a lot tougher to deal Youkilis to the National League.
Chase Headley, San Diego
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Ken Rosenthal of FOX reported that Headley could become available as a result of ownership questions in San Diego.
Headley may be a third baseman by trade, but a shift to first base is not out of the question.
The Padres would likely want a package of prospects for Headley, who seems destined to be replaced by Jedd Gyorko at some point, and 2012 may be the best time to deal the 28-year-old.
Beyond simply adding infield depth to the Jays lineup, Headley actually has a very large upside. He tracks balls very well, steals bases and gets on base. He's not flashy in any way, but he has a lot of Kelly Johnson in his game.
He has never been a spectacular hitter for average, but his on-base percentage currently sits at .370, and he posted a .374 OBP in 2011.
Of course, a lot depends on what the Padres would want for Headley, but he's an option and considering San Diego is going through a long-term rebuilding process, the price may not be as high as some might think.
Carlos Lee, Houston
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For fans of making a push for 2012, Carlos Lee would be a decent trade option.
Like any deal, it's all about what the opposing team would like in return since the Jays wouldn't want to give up any significant asset to acquire Lee.
He's well past his prime, has health concerns and would cost Toronto a massive amount of cash.
The reason Morneau is much more attractive to the Jays is that he is still only 31 years old compared to Lee's 36. While Morneau has a chance to be a productive hitter again, Lee won't ever be a 25 HR, 100 RBI player.
However, if Houston is willing to accept a deal that doesn't include any of the Jays' top prospects and eat some of Lee's contract, then Anthopoulos may consider adding a proven, veteran first baseman.
It would be surprising to say the least, but it's a potentially low-risk, medium-reward deal.
Carlos Quentin, San Diego
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Another Padre in a contract year is Quentin, who, if San Diego decides they do not want to re-sign the 29 year-old slugger, could be a decent option to provide offensive depth.
Quentin was traded from the White Sox for Simon Castro and Pedro Hernandez so one would assume the Padres would want a slightly lesser package.
Hernandez is a mid-level pitching prospect who probably translates into a middle reliever, but Castro was 58th in Baseball America's rankings.
So, Anthopoulos would likely have to give up one of his prized pitching prospects in order to land Quentin, but that would be a mistake.
However, if the Padres get to the point where they realize that Quentin would walk after this season, they might be inclined to lower their asking price significantly. That's where the Jays could come in to secure Quentin and perhaps add a few other assets needed to land a big-name starter.