Major League Baseball’s non-waiver trade deadline has come and gone, and the Toronto Blue Jays were certainly one of the more active teams before July 31.
The Jays dealt away a handful of players, most notably suspended closer Roberto Osuna, who they flipped to the Houston Astros, and ace J.A. Happ, who they sent to the Yankees. I’m still amazed Toronto was able to find a taker for Osuna, who has been suspended by Major League Baseball since assault allegations were levelled against the 23-year-old.
Relievers Aaron Loup, John Axford and Seunghwan Oh, as well as utility man Steve Pearce, who was traded last month, have all been shown the door. So who’s left?
Let’s start on the mound, where Toronto could say goodbye to impending free agent Marco Estrada in the offseason — and they probably should — leaving Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez as the team’s marquee pitchers next season.
Is recently acquired Ken Giles going to be the closer, or is Ryan Tepera going to get a shot to be the guy?
The 2019 outfield could consist of Kevin Pillar, Teoscar Hernandez and Anthony Alford.
Russell Martin, with his $20 million salary, could be Toronto’s catcher again, with Justin Smoak, Lourdes Gurriel Jr., Aledmys Diaz and top prospect Vladimir Guerrero Jr. around the horn.
Stick Kendrys Morales at DH and keep Yangervis Solarte to fill in here and there, and that’s the nuts and bolts of the 2019 Blue Jays.
You’ll notice that I haven’t mention injured third baseman, Josh Donaldson. He’s a goner. There’s no way general manager Ross Atkins is going to want to pay Donaldson the amount of money he wants.
When you boil it all down, apart from the excitement Vlad Jr. is going to bring to every one of his at bats, 2019 is going to look a lot like this year.
There is one big change, however, that I can envision. Manager John Gibbons has done, in my opinion, everything he can with this ball club, and I think it’s time for a change.
Who the next manager of the Blue Jays is, I don’t know, but that person will have to inject some life into a franchise that has become listless.