The Miami Marlins are in full-on fire sale mode this winter. Much like the beloved Sears in Canada, everything is being liquidated. The Marlins have already cleared out their big-ticket item and it won’t be long before they’re selling their rickety shelving units.
Every team in Major League Baseball is interested in the Marlins’ remaining assets, two of the most coveted being Christian Yelich and Marcell Ozuna.
For the first time in several years, the Jays have some serious prospects in their pipeline. This winter, the Blue Jays may find themselves at a crossroads; whether they should deal away one of their elite prospects – like Bo Bichette – for a player the calibre of Yelich.
This is all hypothetical here, but to me, if the Blue Jays were to gun for Yelich, it would take either Bichette or Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to get a deal done. Considering how highly the Blue Jays organization has spoken of Guerrero, it’s safe to say he’s untouchable. But Bichette? I’m not so sure.Sorry, there are no polls available at the moment.
Guerrero came with a pedigree from the day he was signed as an International free agent back in 2015. Bichette was the Blue Jays’ second overall pick one year ago and he’s basically the bridesmaid to Guerrero Jr. as top prospect in the Blue Jays organization.
Might Toronto be motivated to move one of their top prospects for a player who can make a significant impact on the roster right now? If I’m the Blue Jays, I’d seriously have to consider it. If there was a hypothetical trade of Christian Yelich for Bo Bichette on the table, I think I’d have to make that deal.
Yelich is one of the most underrated outfielders in baseball who’s only 26 years old and arguably hasn’t even hit his peak yet. Couple that with the fact that he’s signed to a below-market contract for the next four years at $43.25 million (with a club option for a fifth year), and he’s a tremendously valuable asset.
The Marlins would surely ask for Guerrero Jr. in exchange, but if the Blue Jays could steer trade talks towards Bichette instead, that might be a palatable trade for Toronto. Bichette alone might not get it done from the Blue Jays side, but he’d be the centrepiece of any package going to the Marlins.
The Blue Jays are in a precarious position because they want to contend in 2018 but they’re also hinting towards this pseudo rebuild in the next few years. Getting Yelich actually fulfills both those needs, as pointed out by Kyle Matte of BP Toronto:
I'm sure someone has pointed it out already but Yelich is perfect because he fits the Donaldson window and the Vlad window.
— Kyle (@KodiakRoland) December 13, 2017
By trading away Bichette, the Blue Jays take a highly-touted prospect out of their timeline and potentially a superstar player out of their organization. But Yelich is already a superstar player. Ideally, Bichette becomes someone like Yelich down the line, but there are no guarantees that will even happen.
Bichette hasn’t played above High A yet and he still has a long way to go to the Major Leagues. Yelich has established himself as one of baseball’s premiere outfielders at just 26 years old. There’s a huge amount of upside with both players, but Yelich has five seasons of MLB pedigree under his belt.
As always with dealing prospects, the Blue Jays run the risk of running into a Noah Syndergaard situation where they’re trading away a potential superstar down the road, but Yelich is a superstar right now. It’s not often when an opportunity like this presents itself to grab player of his calibre in trade.
Bichette still has so far to go to even reach the Major Leagues, and who even knows what his timeline might be. If he graduates one level per season, that puts him on track to make the Blue Jays by 2020 and that’s the absolute earliest he’d crack the roster.
I don’t doubt that Bichette is a great talent. Combined with Guerrero Jr., they’ve been two of the most fascinating prospects to watch blossom over the last year. But there comes a time with every prospect when you have to determine if it’s the right time to sell high.
Given the Blue Jays’ clear need for an outfielder, the Marlins’ reported interest in trimming salary and this unique opportunity, it feels like the right time to send Bichette to the Marlins for Yelich. That is, if the Marlins value Bichette highly enough to trade away Yelich for him.
Otherwise, it renders this whole exercise futile, doesn’t it?