The Toronto Blue Jays have been quiet as the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline approaches. The organization has yet to pull the trigger on a deal and has created very little buzz in the way of trade rumors.
But as the deadline inches closer, will the Blue Jays be buyers, sellers or stand pat?
It is an extremely tough call due to the nature of the situation for the Blue Jays. Once touted as World Series favorites, they are now 14 games back in the AL East and a long shot to make the playoffs.
So do they hang on to the big-name players they acquired in the offseason or trade them and begin what could be another long and laborious rebuilding period?
As it stands right now, it looks like the Blue Jays are content to keep their team the way it is. They will be patient to find ways to improve their team for next year. Regarding the 2013 trade deadline, general manager Alex Anthopoulos said to MLB.com's Gregor Chisholm, "I think anything we do — if we can do something that can help currently, great, but even for the following year, as well, we'll look to do it.”
Anthopoulos also predicted a quiet trade deadline for the Blue Jays, as noted by Shi Davidi on Twitter, so do not expect a fire sale:
AA on trade deadline: "From our standpoint, we’re having dialogue, I think it’s going to be quiet, I really don’t see us doing anything."— Shi Davidi (@ShiDavidi) July 23, 2013
Two players that fit that description are Josh Johnson and Mark Buehrle. Both players have performed under their expectations and are prime candidates to get traded.
Buehrle is the player less likely to get traded for two reasons. First, he has shown flashes of brilliance this season, and the Blue Jays may want to hold on to him a little longer to make sure they are not giving up a veteran with some gas left in the tank.
Secondly, he is under contract until 2015, which means if he starts the season poorly next year, the Blue Jays can start shopping him without much decrease in value. For a pitcher with Buehrle’s track record, half a season of mediocre baseball is just as damaging as a full season. Most likely, a team will still take a chance on him.
Johnson, meanwhile, appears to be pitching himself into a one-way ticket out of town. In his last five appearances, Johnson has a 7.71 ERA and has been charged with the loss in all five. Johnson is also a free agent at the end of this season, so if the Blue Jays want to get anything for him, now is the time.
But what is the scuttlebutt regarding potential trade acquisitions for the Blue Jays?
Although the speculation is that the Blue Jays are interested in acquiring Justin Morneau, I do not think it will become a reality. Morneau plays first base or designated hitter, positions already manned by two of the Blue Jays' more capable hitters in Adam Lind and Edwin Encarnacion.
Morneau is also a free agent at the end of the season, something Anthopoulos has explicitly stated he is shying away from, per Davidi. With numerous other teams in the mix for Morneau, do not be surprised to see Anthopoulos pull out of the sweepstakes.
The Blue Jays have stayed very quiet leading up to the trade deadline, and there is almost no buzz surrounding them. Given their disappointing season, it is hard to imagine anything else.
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