The Blue Jays announced on Thursday that they had acquired Taijuan Walker from the Mariners in exchange for either cash considerations or a player to be named later.
According to MLB analyst and insider Jim Bowden, the Blue Jays will be sending a prospect ranked in the top-30 of their system to Seattle to complete the deal. Further, Joe Doyle, a Mariners-based minor-league prospects writer has suggested that it appears it’ll be a position player.
— Jim Bowden (@JimBowdenGM) August 27, 2020
It sounds as though the player headed back to the #Mariners in the Taijuan Walker return will be a position player.
— Joe (@JoeDoyleMiLB) August 27, 2020
This isn’t overly surprising. Walker was one of the better names on the rental starting pitcher market and, given the fact MLB has doubled its playoff field this year, way more teams are going to be buying than selling.
The benefit of building such a deep farm system is that it gives the Blue Jays the ability to buy-in on a possible run without leaving the cupboard completely barren. Giving up a prospect, who I would imagine is ranked somewhere between No. 30 and No. 25 in the system, in exchange for giving this young core a chance to make the playoffs is a worthwhile play.
So, who might this PTBNL be? Let’s play the guessing game!
Three names in the bottom third of the Blue Jays’ top-30 list pop out as ones who fit the criteria: Riley Adams, Will Robertson, and Kevin Smith.
Adams, to me, makes quite a bit of sense. The Blue Jays have a lot of depth at the catcher position with Danny Jansen and Resse McGuire in the Majors, Alejandro Kirk knocking at the door, and Gabriel Moreno, who might be the best of the bunch, not that far away either.
Both Moreno and Adams need to be added to the 40-man roster in order to not be eligible for the Rule 5 draft this year. It would make sense for the Jays to deal off a prospect like Adams that they might not be able to fit into the picture.
But Adams (along with Kevin Smith) is a part of the Blue Jays’ 60-man player pool, making him eligible to be traded during the season. So, if he was going to be the guy heading back to Seattle, it would be a bit odd for him to go as a PTBNL. (Jon Heyman confirmed that it’s a player outside the 60-man pool).
That would then leave us with Will Robertson, who isn’t a part of the 60-man pool.
Maybe that’s all wrong. Who knows. We’re just speculating here. Regardless, the Blue Jays will send a decent prospect to Seattle, but, if this move results in them making the playoffs, it’ll be worth it.