I wrote yesterday on the importance of the next few months for the Shapiro era rebuild because of how badly the front office needs to get a quality return on their three big arms.
Whether we believe the Blue Jays should hang on to one of, or all of Marcus Stroman, Aaron Sanchez, or Ken Giles for the long-term is moot at this point because it’s fairly inevitable all of them are going to get moved. To wit, Jayson Stark wrote today in The Athletic that the Jays could “aggressively” shop their two veteran starters well before the July 31 trade deadline.
Almost everyone is gone now from the 2015-2016 playoff teams. But the Blue Jays have already signaled they could be aggressive in trying to trade Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez, who will both be a year and a half from free agency. And “they’re in the perfect place to move guys like that,” one of the execs quoted earlier said. “Their entire fan base is sold on the concept that guys like Vlad [Guerrero] and [Cavan] Biggio are their future. So they won’t even be paying attention [to those trades] because they understand they’re building around the young guys.”
At this point, this report is hardly news. While we may believe that it’s prudent for the Jays’ rebuild-to-contention arc to hang on to a good, youngish starter like Stroman, it’s no mystery that the front office is going to lean towards rebuilding with their own guys. Besides, as we saw last year, the Tampa Bay Rays made the tough decision to deal ace Chris Archer, and the return of Tyler Glasnow and Austin Meadows has done wonders for the team this season.
One unfortunate thing for the Blue Jays is the reality that Dallas Keuchel still floating around on the free agent market dilutes the value of Stroman and Sanchez in a trade. If a team is uncomfortable with the price tag the Jays set on their starters, they could wait until after the draft and throw a bunch of money at Keuchel without having to give up any prospect capital.
Of course, only one team can sign Keuchel. A team like Oakland or Minnesota with a smaller budget might not be in the mix for such a thing, so the Jays are likely to wait things out and start a bidding war among the teams that don’t end up signing Keuchel. Given the fact the Jays are dealing a-year-and-a-half of Stroman and Sanchez, they can be a little more patient because pulling the trigger in July rather than June doesn’t have the ramifications of the other team acquiring 10 starts rather than 15 in the sense of a rental.
So, yeah! Enjoy your Stroman and Sanchez starts for the next few weeks, because, whether we like it or not, this is happening.