With the Jays having played afternoon games for the last couple of days, and/or me being too tired/lazy to watch the games, I’ve had no real chance to write about something. So today, with our season looking in danger of plateauing with a series against the Astros, I propose a trade that has been said elsewhere, but perhaps not to the degree that I will bring it up.
I’ve seen many players and many theories as to what the Blue Jays should do over the past month. Ranging from going all in and trading for rentals, to a full-on rebuild and the trading of pre-arbitration stars, it’s clear that many have no idea (looking at you guy who proposed the trading of Sanchez, Stroman and Osuna) in my eyes as to what a reasonable approach would be
Likewise, with a range of Triple A guys pushing into the majors, we could soon be in a major logjam wherein we don’t have enough space on the 40 man roster for everyone. As it is there’s a problem finding enough playing time for the guys on the 25-man list, so imagine the difficulties next year with little starting pitching, and a whole bunch of Triple A guys pushing to make the opening day roster, to say nothing about Vlad Jr and Bo, who may be coming up in a couple of years anyway.
So here’s a suggestion that I think may be the best solution to several problems. A trade that would enable the Jays to get some pitching prospects, clear up the immediate playing time logjam, and be a solution to the future. TRADE JUSTIN SMOAK
Now, this isn’t well known because I forgot to post the article that I’d actually wrote at the start of the season. What that unpublished piece said was that we should have Justin Smoak on the 25-man roster, not because of production, but so Rowdy Tellez’s service time is delayed. My view wasn’t that Smoaky would hit .300 and 20 home runs, or that he’d be starting at first base in the All-Star game, or even that he’d be league-average, rather that we’d already paid him, so why DFA him when no-one would pick him up.
So I’m a fan of Smoaky, and love what he’s done for us in the first half of the season, without him we’d be gone, and wouldn’t even be talking about a Smoaky trade under the view that we’d have already sold off everyone to stock the farm. But, despite his statline, and the fact that I don’t think it’s actually luck that has enabled Smoaky to be one of the best in the game this year, there are plenty of reasons why he should be traded.
Michael Saunders. Remember him, well you should, and not just because he’s now in our organisation. Last year, this man did the exact same thing that Smoaky has done. In Spring Training last year I was of the view that Dalton should be at left, not Mr Canada, so what happened, he slashed near .300 and 20 home runs to start in the All-Star Game. Now, I’m not saying that Smoaky’s going to fall off a cliff, but I am saying that it’s odd for a guy who has done next-to-nothing for 7 years to suddenly produce like that. Actually, there’s an even better example.
Chris Colabello. I’m sure you remember him as well. The hero of the 2015 season, other than Joey Bats, and the Bringer of Rain, and Devon Travis, and David Price. You know what, A hero of the 2015 Jays season. Now Colabello wasn’t a heralded prospect in the way that Smoaky was, but you know what, like Smoaky he was below league-average before that season. In fact if I recall correctly, there were questions as to why he was on the roster at the start of the year. Well the thing about Colabello, other than being my favourite Blue Jay ever, was the fact that he hit .300 that year out of nowhere. The Jays that year didn’t need to trade him, so they didn’t. Where is Chris now, following his year out due to a drugs suspension? Triple A.
So what am I saying? Sell while the stock’s high. We may make a terrible mistake as he becomes the next Joey Bats, but we’d only have him for another year anyway. A lot of people wanted to cut him before the season started for a guy who’s struggling to hit in Triple A, so why not trade him when we will get back some actual assets.
My second point is this, we have an issue with the roster, there’s too many decent players for too few positions. That sounds like a great issue right, it’s what the Cubs used to win the World Series after all. My problem though, is that they are concentrated in a few areas. Let’s look below at the depth chart for each position in my eyes:
C: Martin, Montero, Maile (when/if he returns)
1B: Smoaky, Pearce, Morales
2B: Travis (if he ever comes back), Goins, Barney, Russell Martin, a Tree
SS: Tulo, Goins, Barney
3B: Donaldson, Barney, Martin, Goins, practically anyone with hands
LF: Zeke, Pearce
RF: Joey Bats, Zeke
Do you see my point, it’s great to have utilities, but it’s not great to have utilities that aren’t great at their other positions. I think trading Smoaky would solve these problems, perhaps once and for all, let’s look at my desired lineup should Smoaky be traded for a bunch of prospects:
C: Martin, Montero
1B: Pearce, Morales
2B: Travis, Goins, Barney
SS: Tulo, Goins, Barney
3B: Donaldson, Barney, Martin
LF: Zeke, Dwight Smith Jr
RF: Joey Bats, Zeke
By trading Smoak, we begin to have range in the outfield, as Steve Pearce will finally return to first, where he can’t inflict more damage than he already has. In his wake, Dwight Smith Jr, a speedy outfielder to play the Dalton Pompey role in the outfield and on the bases. My god, that’s exactly why we should trade him. How many second baseman and shortshops do we have that are can’t miss prospects? None, because Richard Urena has been terrible. But how many third outfielders in the Jarrod Dyson mould do we have? Several, from Ceciliani to Alford to Smith Jr, to Pompey and even Zeke. Likewise in Triple A we have Rowdy Tellez, who clearly isn’t ready for the majors yet, but may be when Steve Pearce is moved on in a year’s time.
In my eyes, it makes no sense that we are continuing to hold on to Smoaky. I love the guy, but in the best interests of our Blue Jays in the short and long-term (ok probably just long-term), Smoaky has to be the one to go (unless you can get the same package for Steve Pearce). There’s prospects that will be ready in a year, his trade value is at an all time high, it clears a positional logjam and will enable Miguel Montero to play more days at DH, and can allow us to bring up a speedster in the outfield with some actual range.
And this isn’t even covering the most important point, the prospects we’ll get back. Smoaky at this stage is worth at a minimum a good major league middle infielder plus some lottery ticket pitchers. To me however, they need to be pitchers or middle infielders, I’m not the most knowledgeable person to talk about the farm system, but I do know that there is always a need for pitching prospects. Likewise, does anyone really want to see Ryan Goins take up another 100 ABs.
So what is the general gist of my ranting above? Trade the guy while we can get a lot back, because for every Jose and Edwin, there is a Chris Colabello, an Alex Rios, a Michael Saunders. Again, this is just my personal opinion, but by trading Smoak, we don’t phone it in for the season, and have planned well for our future, the prime years of Stro Show and Aaron Sanchez. We get some immediate help in the middle infield, and a couple of pitching prospects for the farm. And to think this was a man that most people wanted to release at the start of the season.
BTW, I read the ESPN article about Eric Pardinho, we may have just wasted 1.5 million dollars.