MLB Trade Deadline Rumor Buy or Sell: Will the Blue Jays deal Happ, other key pieces?
Welcome to CBSSports.com’s Rumor Buy Or Sell. With the July 31 trade deadline slowly approaching, we’ll break down select trade rumors that come your way during the summer months.
With just over two weeks until the trade deadline, the market is starting to take shape. One name who might not be available though? Toronto Blue Jays southpaw J.A. Happ. That’s according to this Ken Rosenthal tweet.
We’re going to examine a slightly different angle that includes Happ’s seeming unavailability: the odds the Jays pass on selling at the deadline.
The Blue Jays entered Sunday 42-48, tied for last place in the American League East, and five games back of the New York Yankees in the wild-card race. The Jays’ path to the postseason is more complicated than it appears, however, seeing as how they trail five other teams in addition to the Yankees. A postseason run seems highly unlikely, to the extent that Baseball Prospectus has their playoff odds at five percent.
The Jays, then, have a dilemma ahead about what to do at the deadline. They have a number of veterans who could draw interest — like pending free agents Francisco Liriano and Marco Estrada, as well as the aforementioned Happ and third baseman Josh Donaldson. Toronto’s best trade piece is undoubtedly Marcus Stroman, though there’s no real reason to move him, since he won’t qualify for free agency until after the 2020 season.
If the Jays were to approach the deadline as sellers, they have the pieces to orchestrate a quick — or quickish, anyway — rebuild. The catch is that the Jays might want to make the most of their remaining competitive window. This is a franchise that fostered high expectations entering the season, and that has more than $70 million committed to six players in 2019. The Jays have valid reasons for going either way, making their deadline strategy even tougher to determine.
Buy. Will the Blue Jays move Josh Donaldson or Marcus Stroman? Probably not. Happ? Likely not. But the Jays’ schedule this week will see them play four against the Red Sox in Boston, then three against the Indians in Cleveland. They’ll be better positioned to make a call then, and at that point, it’s hard to see them opting against trading some of their bit pieces to the highest bidder. So full-out seller? No. Partial? Yes.