Possible Trade Candidates For The Blue Jays

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Article Written by Hudson Stewart (@hudson_stewart6)


With the Blue Jays currently sitting at 30-38 and out of the playoff race, the focus of many fans has turned to what the team will do at this year’s trade deadline. The Jays have many pending free agents for this upcoming off-season and it’s very plausible that we could see many of them moved to other teams.

Trade Candidate #1: Josh Donaldson

A year or two ago, Josh Donaldson would be a guy that many teams would covet in a trade. He won the MVP award in 2015, and was great in 2016 and 2017. However, this season has been filled with injuries for Donaldson, and when he has played, he hasn’t looked like himself. The reality is that teams won’t be giving up a lot in return for an aging injured third baseman who’s only under contract until the end of this season. That doesn’t mean the Jays won’t move him - they still could; but they won’t be getting a lot in return if the do.

Trade Candidate #2: J.A. Happ

In a very inconsistent starting rotation, J.A. Happ has been one of the only bright spots for the Jays this season. He’s been healthy throughout the year so far and has been very effective, with a 3.48 ERA and a record of 8-3. Happ is a guy that could be a big addition for a contending team. He isn’t an ace caliber pitcher that you would get, but he’s a solid No. 2 or 3 starter that could fit into most rotations. With the way he’s been pitching lately, Happ’s trade value is at its peak right now. If he continues to succeed over the next 2 months, he could be a big trade asset for the Blue Jays.

Trade Candidate #3: Marco Estrada

Estrada is another guy who has an expiring contract. He re-signed with the Jays on a 1-year deal last September, hoping that the team would be contending, but that isn’t looking too good right now. He doesn’t have great trade value right now, with an ERA of 5.09, but Estrada was an extremely good postseason pitcher for the Jays in 2015 and ‘16, and that could be attractive to some teams. The highest I could see him in a contending team’s rotation is at the No. 4 spot, where he could potentially make 1 start in every postseason series (In a Game 4).

Trade Candidate #4: Justin Smoak

Smoak’s contract is up after this season, but there is a club option for 2019, so the Jays could hang on to him. He had a great season last year, and even earned an All-Star spot, with 38 home runs, 90 RBIs, and a .270 batting average. However, he’s regressed so far this year, only hitting .229 with 9 homers and 33 RBIs. Smoak’s another guy who’s value has declined this year, but I could still see him being a player of interest for another team. He won’t be a middle of the order bat for a contender, but Smoak could potentially be a good pinch-hitter or defensive replacement.

Obviously, the Blue Jays wish they were contending right now, but the reality is that’s not happening. They have to look to improve the organization in other ways. One of the best ways to do that right now is by trading away pending free agents for prospects in return. Out of the four guys I listed in this article, the only one I think will get a lot in return for the Jays is J.A. Happ, so moving him should be a priority for the team right now. With some good prospects already in the system, adding to that will be a key for the Jays, and there’s a definitely an opportunity to do that here.


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SOT6 Podcast - Episode 66 - PART 2

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Follow Host Adam Corsair on Twitter (@ACorsair21)


EPISODE 66 - PART 2

"The Unfortunate Reality"

TORONTO Blue Jays talk

Weekly Toronto Blue Jays Talk!

  • Things were looking up for the Blue Jays after achieving a solid sweep against division rivals in the Baltimore Orioles. However, the Jays came crashing down to an unfortunate reality of their own after being swept by fellow division occupiers in the Tampa Bay Rays immediately after. It's hard to gauge this team, as they've been polarizing thus far. With the position of being sellers at the trade deadline seeming like an inevitability, it's time for us to accept the fact that the hopes for a 2nd Wild Card in 2018 just may not be at the table.
  • To discuss these and other topics, host Adam Corsair is joined once again by Connor Chambers of Toronto Sports Views for PART 2 of our exclusive Toronto sports talk! Connor and Adam tackle topics like Russell Martin's recent struggles, Randal Grichuk coming back to life, possible trade candidates and returns, and the Roberto Osuna controversy. We also predict the results for the upcoming series against the Nationals, Braves, and Angels!

It's a Blue Jays show that you surely will not want to miss!

Be sure to check out PART 1 of our conversation where we talk all things Toronto Raptors and the promotion of Nick Nurse as their new head coach!

Follow Connor on Twitter: @TO_SportsViews & @connorchambers

Visit Connor's work HERE

Music:
Scott Holmes - "Mountains All Around Us"


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SOT6 Podcast - Episode 65

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Follow Host Adam Corsair on Twitter (@ACorsair21)



EPISODE 65

"SQUARE PEGS, ROUND HOLES"

TORONTO Blue Jays talk

Weekly Toronto Blue Jays Show!

  • The month of May hasn't been the prettiest of all months for the Blue Jays, completed by a sweep from AL East foes, the Boston Red Sox. With numerous players on the DL, players also battling injuries, players playing numerous positions that they aren't used to, it's been a month that Jays fans may wish to forget. The only thing that Blue Jays fans have to hold on is their hopes to see the up-and-coming stars that have been making noise in the farm system.
  • Joining host Adam Corsair is writer and Minor League Guru for South of the 6ix, Jays Journal, as well as the host of the Jays Bird Watching Gamecast - Mr. Craig Borden - to discuss all things Blue Jays. Craig and Adam break down all the recent news surrounding the Toronto Blue Jays, as well as give an update on the top stars in the Jays' Minor League system!

It's a Blue Jays show that you won't want to miss!

Follow Craig Borden on Twitter @Craigers1221
Visit Craig's work HERE
Visit the Jays Bird Watching Gamecast @BirdWatchingGC

Music:
Scott Holmes - "Mountains All Around Us"


Follow South of the 6ix on Twitter (@SouthOfThe6ix)


Cavan Biggio is Putting Blue Jays Fans on Notice

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Article Written by Craig Borden (@Craigers1221)


The son of Hall of Famer Craig Biggio is enjoying his own success so far in 2018. Cavan Biggio has really come out of his shell and is currently mashing the Eastern Leagues pitchers. Something has clearly clicked for the 23-year-old infielder and he is putting everyone on notice.

Biggio is a part of a group within the Toronto Blue Jays' system that shows that family bloodlines run thick in baseball. He was selected in the 2016 draft by the Jays along with his current teammate Bo Bichette. Biggio joined the club after being selected in the 5th round and has been average throughout his tenure with the Jays thus far. His fellow teammates that are sons of baseball greats - Vlad Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette - have been basking in the spotlight over the past few seasons. This year has been a coming out party for Biggio’s lumber and he is showing that he should be in the same conversation as Bo and Vlad.
 


So far this season he has played in 45 games and has been showing off some excellent power. His smooth swing is reminiscent of his father's as he possesses the ability to flip the ball all over the field. While doing that, he could be a doubles machine and plenty of those line drives have been cruising over the fence. After hitting 11 home runs in 127 games with the Dunedin Blue Jays in 2017, Biggio has found a way to power up some and has 12 long balls already this season.

Biggio is currently on pace to decimate his numbers from the 2017 campaign and thus far has shown no signs of slowing down. He is now in Double-A with the New Hampshire Fisher Cats and has been showing an advanced approach at the plate in a new, albeit more difficult league. He has walked 32 times in 45 games while striking out 45 times and is currently showing a great triple slash of .311/.432/.662. All of this while driving in 40 runs and scoring 31 times.
 


We have talked about the power he has, but Biggio is not to be forgotten on the base paths. He has 7 stolen bases this season to show that he is the complete package as a player. He is very athletic and has played all over the infield. While the majority of his starts have been at second base, he has spent time at first and third as well. Prior to this season, he has also played some games in the outfield. I really think his talents are on display the best at second base, but it is nice to see him performing around the diamond when the team needs him too.

Biggio’s swing generates effortless power and is really fun to watch. He loads up quick and gets to the ball in a hurry. This allows him to wait on some pitches that other batters would have to start earlier on. His bat speed is the key to his power as he uses his wrists to flip his bat through the zone with authority. His lower half is very quiet during his swing but with a quick lean back and toe tap, he dives at the baseball. This combo of great hands and opening up his hips at the proper moment generates plenty of pop and so far this season an increase in his launch angle has led to 12 home runs thus far.
 


Prior to the season, Cavan Biggio was not even on many writers Top 30 Blue Jays Prospects lists. Now he is showing what he is made of and has probably edged his way onto many of the coming Mid-Season Prospects lists for the Toronto Blue Jays. He is off to an incredible start to the year in a more difficult league and is making it look easy thus far. I look forward to watching that smooth swing continue to evolve into a great line drive hitter for the Jays in the next few years.


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SOT6 Podcast - Episode 64

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Follow Host Adam Corsair on Twitter (@ACorsair21)


EPISODE 64

"EVERYTHING"

TORONTO RAPTORS & Blue Jays Talk

For the first time, join us as we discuss BOTH the Toronto Blue Jays AND Toronto Raptors ON THE SAME SHOW!

  • As the title of the episode indicates, host Adam Corsair and guest Connor Chambers of Toronto Sports Views cover EVERYTHING! For the very first time, the same guest on the same show will assist in covering both teams! Connor and Adam cover everything from the Raptors playoff performance, Masai Ujiri's judgment of players, possible trade candidates, and where the Raptors' future lies. They also tackle a boatload of Blue Jays topics such as Josh Donaldson's trade value, Marcus Stroman's injury woes, Vlad Guerrero Jr. (of course!), and so much more!

It's a JAM PACKED show that you definitely do not want to miss!

Follow Connor on Twitter: @TO_SportsViews & @connorchambers

Visit Connor's work HERE

Music:
Anitek - "Pipes"
Drake Stafford - "Casets"
Scott Holmes - "Mountains All Around Us"


Follow South of the 6ix on Twitter (@SouthOfThe6ix)


Vladimir Guerrero Jr. Continues to Light Up AA

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Article Written by Travis Aylward (@travaylward)


After a doubleheader Sunday in which Vladimir Guerrero Jr. going 5-8 in total, he now has an insane .421 batting average to go along with 1.169 OPS. Not to mention he has more walks than strikeouts. In the 1st game of a doubleheader, Guerrero Jr. went 4/4 with 3 singles and capped it off with a walk-off homerun. He went 1-3 in the 2nd game.

Following a 4-game sweep at home at the hands of the Oakland Athletics, most talk surrounding the Blue Jays has to do with Guerrero Jr.. Some fans want him called up now, while others want him to continue developing on the field. Some fans don’t want him called up for the sole reason of service time; If Vlad Jr. plays in the majors this year, the Blue Jays would have him under control for only 6 years. If they wait until next year to call him up, they would have him under control for 7 years. Ross Atkins says service time has nothing to do with the fact Guerrero Jr. is still in the minor leagues. He says that he, as well as the club, feel that Guerrero Jr. still has some improvements to make on the defensive side of the game. To boot (via the NY Post)

"We feel like there is a good opportunity in the minor leagues for (Guerrero) to become a better, more well-rounded player than in the major leagues. What I can tell you is service time is not going to be the issue. That is not what this market deserves. It is not how anyone in this organization is wired.”
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Vladimir Guerrero Jr. isn’t the only future Blue Jay tearing up the AA league. Teammate, as well as #11 prospect, Bo Bichette is also having himself a good season. Bichette has a .258 average with a .947 OPS. Although it took him 35 games to hit his 1st home run, he has 10 doubles, 3 triples, and 19 walks.

Multiple other Fisher Cats are having good seasons as well. Lourdes Gurriel Jr., who has seen time in the Majors, is hitting .347. Cavan Biggio, the current team homerun leader, is hitting .297 with 12 homeruns – 4 more homeruns than 2nd place Guerrero Jr. Harold Ramirez, Patrick Cantwell, Jonathan Davis, Andrew Guillotte, and Bo Bichette are all hitting over .250. As for pitchers, Jordan Romano is the team ERA leader as well as innings pitched leader, with an ERA of 1.94 and 46.1 innings pitched. Sean Reid-Foley has an ERA of 2.03 in 44.1 innings pitched. After those two, it gets rough. Nick Tepesch has an ERA of 5.53, while Jon Harris has a 7.03 ERA. Aside from those four, it’s hard to tell how good they are due to the lack of innings pitched. They’re not big enough sample sizes to tell how good these pitchers are.

As for Guerrero Jr., his time will come. Blue Jays front office wants him to continue developing, while Blue Jays fans want him up now. All Vlad can do is to continue hitting at this pace. If he does, he might just force the Blue Jays to call him up. Until then, we can continue to watch him tear apart the AA league.


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The Importance of Bo Bichette Being Challenged

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Article Written by Craig Borden (@Craigers1221)


Success is a fickle beast. It can bring you all the confidence in the world or it can be the reason you press by feeling you should be performing at that level all of the time. This is very important for young athletes to experience before it makes or breaks them at the Major League Level. When I see players that have performed well throughout Minor League Baseball and then finally hit a challenge, I do not panic. I preach patience in these moments and feel that this is the reason we have the Minor Leagues in the first place. It is meant to prepare athletes to become everyday players. Not all players are Mike Trout or Bryce Harper that do not seem to go through extended rough patches.

This is where I take a look at how Bo Bichette has been performing this season. Many baseball people are saying he is off to a slow start. I agree that when you look at his numbers from last season this could be true. Just to state this for the record - he is not having a bad season; he is just not batting .400 like he did this past year in the Midwest League where he was named the season MVP as a member of the Lansing Lugnuts. Through 32 games, he is figuring things out and batting a respectable .276 with 27 runs scored and 11 RBI. He has been a key part of this potent attack for the New Hampshire Fisher Cats and has poked 4 triples, 9 doubles, and stole 9 bases. How is this a slow start to his 2018 campaign?

Once again, I agree that it is off pace from his 70 games with the Lugnuts to start last season where he proceeded to decimate the pitching of the Midwest League to the tune of a .378 batting average with 32 doubles, 3 triples, 10 homers, and 51 RBI’s. He is about halfway there in games played compared to those numbers from last season, but he is on average 4 years younger than most of the players around him in the Double-A Eastern League. With that fact being stated, it can put some of this into perspective. He is learning how to play this game at a high level. Bichette is performing well, just not as outlandishly well as last season where he was closer to the league average age.

I personally do not care what certain “Baseball Professional Minds” are saying about Bichette in general. He is finally being challenged on a high level and this will only help him grow as a player. If everything came easy to you in life, this writer would call that pretty boring. Bichette is playing well and will continue to improve as he becomes more immersed in Double-A. Not everyone is a freak of nature like Ronald Acuna Jr. or Bo’s partner in crime - Vlad Guerrero Jr. These two have clearly found their calling where some players have to work a little harder to get to the same place.

Calling back to the issue I mentioned earlier with success and how it can make or break players, I have seen it over and over again. Players in the Minor League systems get put on the fast track to the Majors after having a streak where they just set their level on fire. Of course there are exceptions to this, but I think Blue Jays fans have seen this enough times. I think the story of Eric Thames is a microcosm of this entire situation I am trying to point out. Thames was a star in the Blue Jays system and really stood out with his performances. However, he was rushed to the Majors and struggled. It was so rough for him that he literally left the country and found his stroke in Korea before coming back to be a success for the Brewers.

I think players need that challenge to find out what they're made of. I would much rather see them hit that road block in the Minor Leagues where they are not under as much stress than they would be on the MLB level. I think Bo Bichette is entrenched as the team's number 2 prospect with his overwhelming talent. He has all five tools that will make any Major League General Manager salivate. He is going to be a great player and this writer will preach patience and let Bichette get in his reps to become the player that we all seem to know he can be.

It takes time to evolve into something special.


Follow South of the 6ix on Twitter (@SouthOfThe6ix)


SOT6 Podcast - Episode 62

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Follow Host Adam Corsair on Twitter (@ACorsair21)


EPISODE 62

"DON'T GET MAD - GET VLAD!"

TORONTO BLUE JAYS talk

Weekly Toronto Blue Jays Review/Preview

  • The Toronto Blue Jays have sort of hit a lull over the course of the past 10 games, winning only 3 of them. With Josh Donaldson taking longer to get back into his usual form, Marcus Stroman on the DL, and Kendrys Morales hitting... well, he's not hitting at all... it's been a very disappointing ride so far.
  • Host Adam Corsair is joined by good friend and journalist - Ryan DiFrancesco - of Jays Droppings and Blue Jays Nation to discuss all things Toronto Blue Jays. They tap on the debate regarding whether or not to call up Vlad, what to do with Kendrys Morales, what's the deal with Marcus Stroman, and also touch on the very uncomfortable reality regarding Roberto Osuna. 

It's a Blue Jays show that you won't want to miss!

Follow Ryan on Twitter: @RyanDifrancesco & @JDroppings
Visit Ryan's Work: HERE & HERE

Music:
Anitek - "Pipes"
Scott Holmes - "Mountains All Around Us"
Break the Dark - "Rain"


Follow South of the 6ix on Twitter (@SouthOfThe6ix)


SOT6 Podcast - Episode 60

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Follow Host Adam Corsair on Twitter (@ACorsair21)


EPISODE 60

"A HAPPY LOG-JAM"

TORONTO BLUE JAYS talk

Weekly Toronto Blue Jays Review/Preview

  • The Toronto Blue Jays have come back down to reality, but have still shown signs that they are far different than they were last year. The depth that has been built to stabilize the team has been absolutely crucial to the success that they've garnered, and it hasn't gone unnoticed.
  • But, with some players coming off injury in the near future (or already), a lot of the talent that has been performing well may see time in the Minors. Is this Log-Jam something that will shake the chemistry of the team? Or is this just part of the business?
  • To help address these and other topics, host Adam Corsair is joined by Brendan Panikkar - journalist of Baseball Prospectus Toronto. Brendan and Adam dive deep into the latest happenings of all things Toronto Blue Jays, as well as make their predictions for the upcoming games!

It's a Blue Jays Podcast that you won't want to miss!

Follow Brendan Panikkar on Twitter & Instagram: @Panikkar37
Visit Brendan's Work HERE

Music:
Anitek - "Pipes"
Scott Holmes - "Mountains All Around Us"
Break The Dark - "Rain"
 


Follow South of the 6ix on Twitter (@SouthOfThe6ix)


The Importance of Josh Donaldson

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Article Written by Hudson Stewart (@hudson_stewart6)


    On April 10th, Josh Donaldson was put on the 10-day disabled list because of a shoulder injury. It first became apparent that his shoulder was bothering him on opening day against the Yankees, when he couldn’t make a throw to first with one-hopping it. Donaldson didn’t miss any games because of that. He DH’d a bit, and then went back to third, and it seemed like he was fine. So, when he was put on the DL, a lot of Blue Jays fans went into panic mode.

    It’s understandable why a lot of people worried about his injury. I mean, this isn’t just any player we’re talking about here; t’s a former A.L. MVP. Donaldson’s health is going to be a vital part in the Blue Jays’ success this year, so that’s why it was so good to see him out there against Cleveland. Donaldson returned to the lineup three days ago, (May 3rd) and he definitely made an impact. There was a doubleheader that day, so Donaldson was able to get a lot of at-bats. He had 11 AB’s between the 2 games, and in those at-bats he got 4 hits, including 2 home runs.

   This lineup isn’t even close to as powerful as the lineup from 2015 and 2016. That lineup had José Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, Troy Tulowitzki, and Donaldson in it, all of who could go deep at any time. The 2018 lineup still has some power, but much less than the previous years. This means that the Blue Jays need a lot of offense from Donaldson this year in order to complete with the Yankees and Red Sox. The Jays will get some power from guys like Smoak and Solarte as well, but we all know Donaldson is going to need to do a lot of the heavy lifting this year in order for the Jays to succeed.

     The main issue with Donaldson’s injury was that he couldn’t make good throws to first. Now that that injury appears to be behind him, we can expect the normal defensive effort from him. People forget how good of a defender he is at third. He not only goes all out on every play, but he can make some barehanded plays that not many other guys in the league can make.

      When Donaldson was out, it was obvious that the Jays had enough depth to play well without him, thanks to guys like Yangervis Solarte and Lourdes Gurriel Jr.. But, when you really look at this team, it needs Josh Donaldson in it. He is their best player, and just like any team in sports, the Jays need their best player to play like their best player.


Follow South of the 6ix on Twitter (@SouthOfThe6ix)