While the Blue Jays are expected to rebuild in 2019, there are plenty of ways to do that. One method could be looking for a contract to eat in exchange for prospect capital.
Last month I wrote about how I don’t expect the Blue Jays to be spending on any offensive additions to their roster, mostly because of the rebuild that has already started in Toronto and the depth of young position player talent in the organization.
I still believe that to be the case, however, I can certainly see how the Blue Jays could end up with a new face or two in their lineup next season, even if I don’t expect them to be active in free agency.
The reason I say this is because the Blue Jays are working on a rebuild, and there are several different ways that a front office can go about such a thing. The natural path is to build through the minor league system, maximizing the value of higher draft picks, and making sure the organization develops players on their way to the big leagues. We’ll often see teams trading veterans in exchange for a prospect return, which is what we witnessed in Toronto at this past year’s trade deadline. Generally speaking, the path to a rebuild is almost always through the minor league system.
The Blue Jays have an excellent system already, coming in third according to Baseball America’s rankings, but there is always room for more, especially when it comes to the various levels of the minor league system. While I’m sure that Ross Atkins and Mark Shapiro will continue to shop a few of their veteran players on the trade market, they could use another strategy to get prospect capital as well, and one they employed to a certain extent in 2017 when they dealt Francisco Liriano.
Sometimes teams are willing to hand over a decent prospect or two if the trade also involves a higher salaried contract. Using the Liriano example, the Blue Jays were able to get Teoscar Hernandez in exchange for Liriano, but the deal only worked because the Jays were willing to take Nori Aoki and his salary as well. While he wasn’t making a huge amount of money that year, the Blue Jays got a better prospect back because they took Aoki’s salary in the deal.
Could they employ a similar strategy this offseason? There are some situations that would be worth exploring at the very least, and the Blue Jays should have plenty of payroll room to work with. Let’s have a look.