Rosenthal: Blue Jays could be surprise sellers if missing the playoffs becomes a reality

Photo credit:Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports
Thomas Hall
2 months ago
Things haven’t gone smoothly for the Toronto Blue Jays thus far in 2024. But, with 130 games remaining, there’s still time to recover from a 15-17 start. If that doesn’t occur, there’s a chance they could shift focus to selling ahead of the July 30 trade deadline, according to The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal.
It isn’t the first time Rosenthal has suggested this potential outcome. He mentioned it during an appearance on the Foul Territory podcast earlier this week, where he outlined how the Blue Jays may have to take a careful look in the mirror at themselves if they’re a fringe playoff team hanging around .500 closer to the trade deadline.
On Friday, Rosenthal listed Toronto as a team he believes could become a surprise seller this season if the club fails to turn things around. Two other American League organizations mentioned were the Tampa Bay Rays — who sit last in the AL East at 14-18 — and the Houston Astros.
If the Blue Jays were to sell, it would seemingly indicate that president Mark Shapiro (signed through 2025) and general manager Ross Atkins (through ’26) have failed as executives, as Rosenthal writes. He also suggested firing manager John Schneider — whose deal runs through 2025 and includes a club option for ’26 — could be an option.
Toronto’s roster features a handful of impending free agents who would likely become intriguing trade chips, such as Yusei Kikuchi, Yimi García, Danny Jansen and Justin Turner. Other players set to hit the open market after this season include Trevor Richards, Kevin Kiermaier and Daniel Vogelbach.
The list of upcoming free agents grows significantly after 2025, particularly in talent, as Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. remain unsigned beyond next season. As do Jordan Romano, Chris Bassitt, Erik Swanson, Tim Mayza, Chad Green, Cavan Biggio, Isiah Kiner-Falefa and Génesis Cabrera.
But any potential sell-off may not stop there, with Kevin Gausman, George Springer, Alejandro Kirk and Daulton Varsho all becoming free agents following the 2026 campaign. On top of that, José Berríos can opt out of his seven-year, $131-million contract after that season.
The Blue Jays are heavily invested in this year’s roster, as evidenced by their franchise-record $225 million payroll, per Cot’s Baseball Contracts. Thus, management is unlikely to give up on this season easily.
With how much is riding on 2024 and ’25, the Blue Jays’ woes would probably have to reach a point of no return for them to consider tearing down their roster this summer. Doing so just months after spending close to $400 million in renovations to modernize the Rogers Centre would undoubtedly send a negative shockwave throughout a fan base still reeling from a disappointing off-season.
Still, with a mediocre prospect system and a competitive window that could reach its conclusion in a few years, entering a rebuild might be worth considering for a club that enters Friday’s slate with a 30 per cent chance of making the playoffs, per FanGraphs.
If they did decide to go down that path, you’d have to think someone other than Shapiro and Atkins might be running the show as the franchise began the next chapter of its existence.

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