The Silver Lining to the Blue Jays Coming Second in the Yelich Sweepstakes

Christian Yelich would’ve solved a lot of problems for the Toronto Blue Jays. For a while, it was fun to navel gaze about the possibility of him coming to Toronto. Unfortunately, that dream will follow Yelich to Milwaukee, of all places.

No one knows how closely the Blue Jays and Marlins may have been on a Yelich deal, but according to Craig Mish, the Jays were the only team within the same stratosphere as the Milwaukee Brewers. This is where it starts to get interesting.


With five years of team control on a below-market deal, Yelich was going to fetch a king’s ransom from any prospective trade partner. This is where we begin to understand the kind of package it was going to take from the Blue Jays to land Yelich.

It sounds like discussions started and ended with one of the Blue Jays’ most hyped prospects in the last 20 years: Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

As Baseball America’s third overall prospect, Vlad Jr. is likely the first player teams bring up when discussing trades with the Blue Jays. As Mish reported, it was the Blue Jays who refused to include Vlad in a deal.

The bad news is the Blue Jays didn’t land Yelich. And yet, there’s is a silver lining to coming second in the Yelich sweepstakes. The good news is the Blue Jays hang onto a player who has the potential to become a generational talent: Guerrero Jr.

Fans would’ve been excited to see the Blue Jays land an All-Star outfielder like Yelich, but at the cost of trading Guerrero Jr? That trade would not have been well-received in Blue Jays Land.

If it were a package centred around Bo Bichette for example, that deal would’ve been a lot more palatable for the Blue Jays. Given the rave evaluations and his sudden rise up the prospect rankings, a Yelich/Guerrero swap would elicit some strong reactions.

I’m sure the Blue Jays tried to configure a trade with the Marlins a number of ways, most of which didn’t involve Guerrero Jr. Mish reports several variations of a trade between the Jays and Marlins came to the table.


If Guerrero Jr. was a non-starter for the Blue Jays, a fun hypothetical game is to imagine what those other trades may have looked like. If I had to hazard a guess, and it’s only a guess, if Guerrero was off the table, maybe the Blue Jays come back with Bichette, Alford and Richard Urena.

There’s no question the Blue Jays had the prospect capital to make a trade for Yelich happen, but if the Marlins were so completely infatuated with Guerrero, none of that may have mattered. The Blue Jays could offer three of their Top 10 prospects, but if the Marlins were married to the notion of getting Guerrero, the deal was essentially dead.

Sure, the Blue Jays miss out on five years of Yelich; a blossoming young All-Star outfielder, but Guerrero’s ceiling somehow goes beyond “superstar”. MLB Pipeline gave him an 80-grade hitting, for heaven’s sake.

Jim Callis of gave this glowing review about the Blue Jays top prospect. If this doesn’t get Blue Jays fans salivating, I don’t know what will.

Guerrero should contend for batting titles on an annual basis. He could be his dad with more selectivity at the plate or the next Miguel Cabrera.

There’s another positive in the Blue Jays playing bridesmaid to the Brewers in this trade. It means the Blue Jays finally have enough high-calibre prospects that they can go after a player like Yelich. Their farm system is finally rich with talent again and teams are taking notice of their promising young talent.

There hasn’t been this much excitement about the Blue Jays’ minor league talent in a very long time. You have to go back to the early-to-mid 90’s prospects like Carlos Delgado, Shawn Green, Alex Gonzalez and Roy Halladay.


I don’t consider it all bad that the Blue Jays didn’t relent and give Vlad to the Marlins. As amazing a player that Yelich is, I don’t know if there’s any Major Leaguer the Blue Jays would trade Guerrero for. The Jays aren’t saying he’s untouchable, but he’s untouchable.

After everything I’ve read over the past few weeks about Guerrero, I don’t blame the Blue Jays for walking away from that deal with the Marlins. Yelich is a star today, but Guerrero may be a superstar tomorrow.

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.

8 thoughts on “The Silver Lining to the Blue Jays Coming Second in the Yelich Sweepstakes

  • January 26, 2018 at 9:02 am

    Ya . As disappointing as it is not to get Yelich, a deal was not worth giving up Vladdy. I was earlier a big fan of the Jays having Yelich but resigned myself last week it wasn’t going to happen when they picked up Grichuk and Granderson.
    I agree that the notion of the farm system being greatly improved is a silver lining.Hopefully now the jays change gears and go hard on a starter. Please no Chris Tillman.
    Another thought may be to contact the Brew crew about their outfield surplus. Domingo Santana anyone?

  • January 26, 2018 at 12:53 pm

    If the Marlins were so married to the notion of getting Guerrero that they wouldn’t listen to an offer involving Bichette and Alford, then their front office has some serious problems. Guerrero was never on the table for Yelich, and even Miami must have understood that.

    • January 26, 2018 at 4:40 pm

      If you believe we offered the #8 and #60 prospects in BA top 100, over Milwaukee#s over of Brinson and Harrison #18 and #75 ( and both vastly overrated ), only for the Marlins to turn that down, I don’t know what to say to you. Derek Jeter’s a joke. The corruption is noxious.

      • January 26, 2018 at 8:11 pm

        From everything I’ve read/heard, it sounds like Vlad was at the top of the Marlins list and the Blue Jays tried many permeations of a deal without Vlad and Bo. Taking on salary would be a strength of the Jays, but if Vlad was a non-starter, then discussions probably never got that far.

  • January 26, 2018 at 4:36 pm

    The reality is that Derek Jeter won’t adversly affect the Yankees playoff chances directly, unless a massive premium is attached. I have more chance at a threesome with Kylie Page and Kate Upton, than Miami had at getting Vladimir Guerrero Jr. So negotiations were over before they had begun. You can’t blame the FO for this.

    Hopefully, we move on to Domingo Santana.

  • January 26, 2018 at 8:08 pm

    Well it’s done so the Jays must move on.
    Just spitballing here but what about dangling Happ and prospects for Santana? Then work with Boras for Arrieta. Brewers need a starter and won’t part with Santana for any less.
    Arrieta isn’t gonna get a long term deal at his age but is a marginal upgrade over Happ. It will also establish a relationship with Boras as they will have to deal with him eventually on Sanchez. Then shop Pillar for reliever or package him with Morales for salary relief. A outfield of Granderson/ Hernández/Pearce, Grichuk in center and Santana in right looks pretty good.

  • January 27, 2018 at 11:55 am

    Hopefully, the Jays don’t go after Domingo Santana. He is just another Teoscar Hernandez but with below average defence. Granderson is a one year bridge to either Alford or Hernandez. If Grichuk is a failure they can release him and use one of their very good outfield prospects.

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