Toronto Blue Jays' Top 5 Trade Assets This Offseason
As the GM Winter Meetings and big-name free agency near, the Blue Jays appear to be one of the more busy teams heading into this critical point in the offseason.
With a closet full of needs and only a limited amount of cash to spend via free agency, the Jays will more than likely need to get creative in their pursuit of players.
To go more in-depth, the Jays' critical needs this offseason are easily their starting rotation in which they will need at least one, and more than likely, two quality MLB arms.
Another need appears to be in left field as the club may not be comfortable with the platoon of Rajai Davis and Anthony Gose, as speedy as they might be on the basepaths.
A power-hitting designated hitter or first baseman is likely the last of the Jays' needs, aside from a manager, which is said to be in the pipelines. David Ortiz has already signed back with the Red Sox, so the best fit at that position is already gone, but GM Alex Anthopolous can still get creative to fill that spot either via trade or free agency.
Here's a look at the Jays' top 5 players that could be available for trade.
5. Casey Janssen
Coming off a career year in which he averaged more than a K/9, a WHIP of 0.86 and an OPPBA of only .195, Casey Janssen really cemented himself as a possible fixture in the Jays bullpen and could still very well be the teams' closer come next season.
With fireballers Steve Delabar, Sergio Santos, Brad Lincoln, Marcus Stroman, and possibly Jeremy Jeffress still in the fold, the Jays may have some more powerful arms in waiting for the closer position.
As it stands right now, the Jays bullpen may be the strongest part of their club, and could get stronger if the team decides to re-sign one of Jason Frasor or Brandon Lyon, both two-time Blue Jays.
However, with the major hole in the club's rotation and the the stud prospects of Noah Syndergaard, Aaron Sanchez, Roberto Osuna, and Justin Nicolino still years away, the club may be better served dealing one of its closers to fill that hole in the rotation.
4. Adam Lind
Adam Lind's numbers last season were far from impressive; however, his finish to the season may very well have kept in Toronto.
In his final 123 at-bats, from the time he was healthy in late August to the finish of the season, Lind batted .285 with three HR and 18 RBI while raising his average from a pedestrian .227 up to .255.
Now while that may not be great, it's far better than what he was producing prior to his injury and his demotion.
Now I highly doubt he'll get dealt, and if he does, it will almost assuredly be to an AL team in which he can platoon at first and DH. However, if Lind stays, I expect a bounce-back season where you will see 20 home runs, a .260 batting average and close to 80-90 RBI over the course of the year.
3. Colby Rasmus
Colby Rasmus is probably the most athletically gifted player on the Jays outside of Brett Lawrie.
Rasmus possesses Gold Glove-caliber defence, a solid arm and good speed; however, his ability with the bat still comes into question.
Rasmus has a high tendency to strike out and doesn't get on base at a high percentage, and personally, the Jays should lean a little more towards the Moneyball approach to offence and just get on base.
His OPS of only .689 as an outfielder is pretty poor, but you never know. With a coaching change he could be another Aaron Hill and rejuvenate his career again.
Dwayne Murphy's approach to hitting obviously isn't agreeing with Rasmus. However, with a managerial change upcoming and possibly a new hitting coach making his way into the fold, Rasmus could be in line for another bounce-back season.
Wondering why I included him in the list?
The Jays have a legit center fielder in the making in Anthony Gose coming, plus Rasmus doesn't have many years of control left. Anthopolous likes to stay away from guys like that, hence why he could be dealt.
2. Yunel Escobar
Yunel Escobar's name has been thrown around the trade circles lately, mainly for his mistake of writing a Spanish homophobic slur on his eye-black. After that incident, Escobar has been a marked man ever since.
With the progression of shortstop Adeiny Hechavarria, Escobar may become expendable if the Jays feel that Hechavarria is more valuable to them as a shortstop rather than a second baseman.
Escobar, always a guy with a good glove, will likely stay with the Jays this season, but he could really fetch the Jays a good starter they need if they do choose to deal him.
1. JP Arencibia
Lastly we end it with the most likely to get dealt, and that's JP Arencibia.
The progression and arrival of potential All-Star-in-the-making catcher Travis D'Arnaud next season makes Arencibia expendable at the right price.
A power-hitting catcher with the ability to drive in runs, Arencibia is generally looked upon as an offensive catcher in the John Buck or Mike Napoli mold. Arencibia is getting better at defending, however he's still not quite there.
Look for Arencibia to be the subject of many trade rumors this winter as the Jays look to fill out their roster.