Will the Blue Jays Actually Make a Splash at the Trade Deadline?

In many ways, the clock is ticking for the Toronto Blue Jays; not only on Friday’s non-waiver trade deadline, but time is also running out for the Blue Jays to make up ground and secure a playoff spot.

What transpires on and off the field for them this week could have a big impact on whether the Blue Jays will be playing October baseball.

However, the team’s mediocre play as of late combined with a lack of trades by the front office have left many questioning whether the Blue Jays will make a deal at all.


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For months now, the needs for the Blue Jays have been vividly apparent: starting pitching and bullpen help. They’ve managed to finagle a few in-house solutions, but they’re still short of being a playoff-calibre team.

Because of the magnitude of deals signed and trades made this past offseason, this has probably been the most anticipated trade deadline for the Blue Jays in a very long time.

But do they have an obligation to make a move at the trade deadline?

Last year, there was a great deal of disappointment after they stood pat on July 31st. But in retrospect, the 2014 Blue Jays were team that had a lot of flaws that couldn’t be plugged by merely one or two acquisitions at the deadline.

Edwin Encarnacion, Adam Lind and Brett Lawrie were all hurt; there were several key position players missing from the roster. Whereas with this team, the starting lineup is relatively healthy, it’s just that they only have a few holes to plug in the rotation and the bullpen.

It would seem to be a fairly easy fix. If the Blue Jays wanted to get Johnny Cueto, they could’ve. If they wanted to get Jonathan Papelbon, they would’ve. Clearly, Alex Anthopoulos has a price in his mind for what those players are worth, and he decided to walk away.

In a way, I respect that logic because we witnessed what happened with the Oakland A’s last year. We saw how they came out early and cleared the cupboard for Jon Lester, Jeff Samardzija and Jason Hammel.

They bolstered their rotation, but they barely squeaked into the playoffs and ultimately the Wild Card game. All for what? Now look at where the Oakland A’s are this year. Who’s to say if the Blue Jays did the same thing, it wouldn’t happen to them as well?

As great as it would be to experience a playoff game, it would hurt a lot to see the organization take one or two steps backward the following year because they’ve given up so much talent. The only difference here is that Oakland A’s dealt a lot of players off their big league roster and the Blue Jays would mostly be dealing in the way of prospects.


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But this is going to be a crucial week for the Blue Jays. And the more I think about it, they still have a chance to get to the playoffs, but they’re running out of time.

They’re sitting at .500 and three games back of the Twins for the second Wild Card. The Blue Jays are within striking distance, but the problem is they are failing to gain any traction in the standings.

They win one game, then they lose one game, they lose two games, then they lose two games. At this rate, the Blue Jays are not going to get into the playoffs.

If the regular season went until November or December, I think the Blue Jays may have a better shot. Their incredible offensive output appears to be sustainable over the course of an entire season. But they just squandered so many chances in the first half that they’re trying to play catchup.

Ideally, the Blue Jays should’ve been around 10 games above .500 going into the All-Star break so that if there was some sort of second half attrition, there wouldn’t be nearly as much ground to make up. Despite rattling off an 11-game win streak earlier this season, they’re only at .500.

Maybe it’s the cumulative disappointment of 22 years without a playoff appearance which has made many overly cynical towards this organization. The Blue Jays’ lack of moves at the deadline last year certainly didn’t help the cause.


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I’m hoping the Blue Jays will make a big splash at the trade deadline, but considering what’s happened in previous years, I really don’t foresee it happening.

It’s not for a lack of trying, though; I believe Alex Anthopoulos has worked tirelessly and attempted numerous times to get these players, and he’s either not getting support from ownership, or the asking prices are just so astronomical that he’s walking away.

Anthopoulos has gone on the record that he doesn’t enjoy the calamity of the July 31st trade deadline. So if the Blue Jays don’t make a trade within the next few days, the probability of a big transaction transpiring seems less and less likely.

As exciting as it would be to see the Blue Jays land someone like David Price at the 11th hour, historically, Alex Anthopoulos and the Blue Jays have tended to avoid those last minute trades. When AA makes trades, it’s typically days if not weeks ahead of the non-waiver trade deadline.

If the Blue Jays didn’t make a move at the trade deadline last year when they occupied a Wild Card spot, what leads us to believe they’ll make a move when they’re three games back of a Wild Card spot now?

Here’s another thing that leads me to believe the Jays will stand pat this week; often times, the most active teams on the trade market are the ones that are sitting quite comfortably in a playoff spot. They’re simply looking to fortify their roster for the home stretch to the postseason.

Very rarely do you see a team like the Blue Jays (who are outside the perimeter of the playoff picture) not only remain active at the deadline, but then successfully use those moves to vault them into the postseason.

Now with the advent of the second Wild Card, it’s more difficult than ever for a team to justify selling the farm for a player that might not even put them over the top and help secure a playoff spot.

Teams like the Blue Jays now have to leapfrog several others to get into the playoffs, and that’s only for the privilege to play the sudden death Wild Card game. At this point, I’d take a Wild Card game, but I don’t know if it would be worth parting for Marcus Stroman.

After watching teams like the Kansas City Royals go after Johnny Cueto, there’s a propensity to think the Blue Jays failed to make a push for a guy like that. In all truthfulness, maybe the Blue Jays didn’t have a shot at Cueto from the beginning.

But as the Blue Jays continue to flounder around the .500 mark and the trade deadline looms, there’s this overriding sense of cynicism that’s starting to creep in. Last year’s inactivity also made a lot of people very skeptical whether the Blue Jays will do a deal.

Alex Anthopoulos shouldn’t feel obligated to make a trade just for the sense of making a trade, but many people will not be satisfied unless the Blue Jays bring in a starting pitcher (or two), or at the very least, a reliever.

Not just the loyal fans of the Toronto Blue Jays, but some of the players within the clubhouse, as well.

Am I hoping the Blue Jays will make a trade this week? Absolutely. Should they make a trade this week? No question. But will the Blue Jays actually do a deal before the July 31st deadline? I wouldn’t hold your breath.

Ian Hunter

Ian has been writing about the Toronto Blue Jays since 2007. He enjoyed the tail-end of the Roy Halladay era and vividly remembers the Alex Rodriguez "mine" incident. He'll also retell the story of Game 5 of the 2015 ALDS to his kids for the next 20 years.

10 thoughts on “Will the Blue Jays Actually Make a Splash at the Trade Deadline?

  • July 27, 2015 at 5:40 pm
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    you said it yourself: "they're still well short of being a playoff-calibre team.", and this: "they only have a few holes to plug in the rotation and the bullpen."
    they have too many holes to plug just to take a shot at making the playoffs, probably as a one-and-done wildcard shot in the dark, I hate missing the playoffs but I totally disagree with selling the farm for a lottery ticket chance at the playoffs. I agree with the Royals – they are there, and just tweaking to make sure they have a strong, deep playoff run. The Jays (unfortunately) are not even close! Stroman going down was strike one. AA should have made a deal in the spring to replace him in the rotation. Hutch taking a huge step backward in his development was strike two. He really should be demoted to AA or AAA to regain his command, but that's not an option at the moment due to lack of a suitable replacement… and the bad base running and bad defence and bad bullpen that has squandered away so many potential wins already this year is strike three. The Jays are already OUT, they just don't realize it yet. (said by a true loyal fan since my first game in 1979, not just another troll on the comments pages).

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    • July 28, 2015 at 12:52 am
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      I feel your pain. In retrospect, they really should've improved the rotation, but they were probably banking on one of either Sanchez or Norris being decent starters (hence trading away Happ). There have been some pleasant surprises, but there have been a lot of disappointments (mostly rotation and bullpen related).

      Reply
  • July 27, 2015 at 5:41 pm
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    I think the only trade they can make is for a pitcher with remaining team control. Given their current position they simply can not move futures for a rental… a guy that can help you next year is a different story.

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  • July 27, 2015 at 5:56 pm
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    After watching the Jays be on the wrong end of a triple play because of bad baserunning, Reyes playing SS worse than I do at a church picnic, and just overall uninspiring play despite a potent offense, all I can think is "this is why we don't have nice things".

    What I mean is this: even if AA got Price, Hamels, or whoever, it would be wasted money/prospects because the other 24 players will continue being .500 in their gameplay. Until the Jays improve their fundamentals and stop giving away outs on the basepaths and defensively, there's no point in getting a new nice thing.

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    • July 28, 2015 at 12:53 am
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      That's why I think it's really difficult for them to justify cleaning the cupboard for a rental. If they did that and then fell flat and didn't make the playoffs, they'd already have taken a step backwards.

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  • July 27, 2015 at 6:47 pm
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    First…they jays are out of the running for the AL East. I don't care if we have 13 games left against the Yankees. We are 6.5 out…and falling. Everyone acts like the 13 games will save us. We are 100 games in and the Jays are not a playoff caliber team. They are a mediocre .500 team thay has an offense that explodes once or twice a week but really fails in the clutch hitting department when the pressure is on. Are we really being serious when we ask AA to go alll in? If we were 10 games over 500 and in the lead yeah do what the Royals did. Why can't people stop dreaming of the big win streak and the magical 13 against the Yankees. We are not a play off team. To many holes and selling the farm to try for a one and done..even if we win there is no way we win a series. We don't have the pitching nor again the clutch hitting needed in the playoffs. Love the Jays but I see them for what they are. For us to be considered a playoff team we should be playing the way the Yankees are now…and we arent even close!

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  • July 27, 2015 at 7:25 pm
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    Seventeen blown saves. Or is it sixteen? How many walk off losses?
    If the Jays had picked up Miller last winter they would be leading the AL East.
    Instead they picked up a catcher, great except that we already had a perfectly adequate one and what was needed was pitching.
    Of course if this wasn't such a poverty stricken city with such a tiny population and no TV audience to speak of at all, if we were as big a market as San Diego or Kansas City or the south side of Chicago we might be able to afford both ends of the battery-catchers and pitchers.

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    • July 28, 2015 at 12:44 am
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      We are.the 4th largest market in mlb. The problem is a corporate owner with no vsion and poor roster construction by AA. AA is great at drafting…or his team is at least. But as a GM he is lacking. Missed out on Chapman because of his valuations….which is why trades don't happen. His valuations of his prospects or of other players has been consistently off. Im speaking of his work overall as opposed to just this year…He gave things a good try but he's not GM material…supporting Reyes being run out there everyday…22 million reasons I suppose…so 3 more years of bad defense….left field is where he should be…couldn't be any worse than Colabello out there…everyone talks about what a great athlete he is…but no putting him in LF is considered hard..but not for Valencia or Cola apparently…Im venting…I could go on but whats the use…looking forward to a change in Managmemt next year

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    • July 28, 2015 at 12:55 am
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      Miller would've been a great sign, but they would've needed to go an additional year to get him (kind of like how they got Martin). Then the risk you run is Miller turning into another B.J. Ryan.

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  • July 28, 2015 at 3:05 am
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    The team should have made a trade (or trades) at last year's deadline – they were sitting in a wild card berth, 3 games clear of Seattle. They were 1.5 games out of first place. They didn't make a trade.

    The Jays are in a far worse position this year than last year. They shouldn't make a trade now just because they have the money (that they didn't have last year), to say that they did something, or to placate the masses. Unless the acquisition costs next to nothing (in which case, why bother?) or helps the team in 2016-17, there's no point in throwing away prospects to stay in what will probably be a fruitless chase of the Yankees.

    Reply

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