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  • Trade Target Team Profile: Toronto Blue Jays

    The Big Picture
    The Jays currently find themselves in a familiar situation, enjoying a good season but struggling to gain traction in a treacherous division. Toronto's 38-36 record would have them a game back in the AL Central, but the team sits last in the East, trailing the red-hot Yankees by 7.5 games.

    That's right, the Blue Jays Ė with a record two games over .500 Ė are only one game closer to first than the Twins, who hold the American League's worst record. Yep, life in the AL East is tough.

    Of course, this has always been Toronto's plight, and it's not likely to change any time soon. At some point, they need to make an aggressive push to overcome their daunting divisional rivals, and with the strong roster they have assembled, now seems like as good a time as any.

    Why They Will Trade With the Twins
    Let's be honest: The Blue Jays' biggest need is pitching. If they want to add to their offensive strength, however, there's one name that sticks out as a natural fit, and that's Justin Morneau.

    He's Canadian, his prodigious power would play well in Toronto's hitter-friendly stadium and Toronto is hurting at first base. Adam Lind, a former top prospect whose lack of progress in the majors is alarming given that he's now 28, was outrighted to the minors at the end of May with a .185/.271/.311 hitting line and went unclaimed on waivers. He crushed in Triple-A and was recalled this week, but the organization can't be feeling a ton of confidence in him.

    They are, of course, well aware of the lingering issues Morneau has experienced from a concussion he suffered in their ballpark, not to mention his pesky wrist problems, and they have to be put off by his struggles against lefties. But a recent report stated that the club is "very interested" in Minnesota's first baseman.

    Why They Won't Trade With the Twins
    Let's be honest: The Blue Jays' biggest need is pitching. Toronto ranks third in the AL in runs scored, second in homers and fourth in OPS. Conversely, they rank 10th in ERA, 11th in WHIP and dead last in K/BB ratio. To make a dent in their offense-heavy division, they need to add some impact arms.

    Savvy GM Alex Anthopoulos isn't likely be enticed by names such as Carl Pavano or Nick Blackburn, so Terry Ryan's best hope for a match might be Francisco Liriano continuing his dominant run into July or Matt Capps returning with a vengeance. The Jays' rotation has been depleted by injuries and they would love a front line caliber starter to complement Ricky Romero and Brandon Morrow; meanwhile their closer situation is iffy given that they had to replace ineffective veteran Francisco Cordero with Casey Janssen about a month into the season and Sergio Santos has been hurt.

    The problem isn't that the Twins don't have arms that could entice Toronto, it's that the Blue Jays aren't likely to part with quality pitching in a trade and that's surely what the Twins will be seeking. Intriguing options like Kyle Drabek and Drew Hutchison are mired on the DL for the foreseeable future.

    Conclusion
    The Blue Jays have needs that the Twins can address, especially if Liriano and Capps can improve their stock in the coming weeks while the Twins' slim chances of contending fade further. Can Anthopoulos offer up a package that will address Minnesota's long-term needs, though? It's worth noting that there's a history of deadline dealing between the two clubs, though it was nearly a decade ago that Bobby Kielty and Shannon Stewart were swapped.

    ~~~

    Possible Trade Targets

    Jake Marisnick - OF
    Top prospect Anthony Gose, currently 21 and hitting well at Triple-A, might not be attainable, but his presence in Toronto's system creates some redundancy with Marisnick, another 21-year-old who is currently in High-A and possesses a nice power/speed combo. The Twins have a number of outfield prospects but Marisnick is a notch better than most and would provide more flexibility to trade from an area of depth.

    Noah Syndergaard - RHP
    A big 6'5" starter drafted as a supplemental first-round pick in 2010, Syndergaard has a highly acclaimed fastball and it's helped him rack up 64 strikeouts (with only 15 walks) in 48 2/3 innings for Low-A Lansing this year. He's only 19, but offers more upside than perhaps any starter in Minnesota's system.

    Justin Nicolino - LHP
    If the Twins fancy a left-hander, Nicolino may catch their eye. He was selected one round after Syndergaard and he's had similarly strong results as a pro, going 9-2 with a 1.37 ERA, 0.93 WHIP and 128-to-24 strikeout-to-walk ratio in 118 innings between this season and last. Either young hurler would would be tough to pry away, but would be a worthy prize.

    Joel Carreno - RHP
    The pitching prospects mentioned above are both fairly far from the majors, but if the Twins are looking for a more immediate impact they could take a look at Carreno. He's 25 and he's already got some big-league experience, having made a handful of MLB appearances both last year and this year. He's struggled quite a bit with Toronto this year and he's 25, but those factors may increase Toronto's willingness to move him and there remains plenty of upside in his arm. In the minors, he has piled up 690 strikeouts in 647 innings.

    Carlos Perez - C
    Travis d'Arnaud is Toronto's best prospect and won't be touched, but the Twins may have a shot at another young backstop. Perez, 21, is thought to have the defensive skills to play catcher in the majors, and he's displayed solid power and plate discipline this year in the Midwest League. The righty swinger would give the Twins another option to eventually replace, or at least caddy with, Joe Mauer behind the plate.

    Please add your thoughts and trade ideas (and other names the Twins could pursue) in the comments below!
    This article was originally published in blog: Trade Target Team Profile: Toronto Blue Jays started by Nick Nelson
    Comments 18 Comments
    1. glunn's Avatar
      glunn -
      Great article.

      Syndergaard and Nicolino both seem very tempting. I continue to wonder why the Twins seem unable to identify and draft quality pitchers of the caliber. The Twins could have picked these guys, but did not. Maybe the Twins are just not good at scouting young starters?
    1. Badsmerf's Avatar
      Badsmerf -
      Quote Originally Posted by glunn View Post
      Great article.

      Syndergaard and Nicolino both seem very tempting. I continue to wonder why the Twins seem unable to identify and draft quality pitchers of the caliber. The Twins could have picked these guys, but did not. Maybe the Twins are just not good at scouting young starters?
      Its an organizational flaw. For awhile now the Twins haven't drafted high end guys, and the ones they do end up needing surgery. Bad luck or bad scouting? I want fresh blood in the Twins brass and a new direction. I don't think JR can draft and build a winning team, the current scouts are looking for the right things in players, and the medical staff is incompetent.
    1. John Bonnes's Avatar
      John Bonnes -
      Hutchinson and Drabek are a little more than "on the shelf." Drabek is undergoing Tommy John surgery and Hutchinson is in wait and see mode like Wimmers. No wonder they're looking for pitching. (Similar to the Twins.)

      I know this is NEVER done, but I wonder if the Twins would consider going after Drabek even though he's undergoing TJ. It's not against the rules. Give that they've got a doctor poking around in his arm, they'll know as much about that condition as they ever will. I have to imagine he's available at a discount, especially for a need.

      It seems like a market inefficiency that one could leverage.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      If you're the Twins, do you take a guy in the higher minors with lower upside or do you take a raw guy with big upside in the low minors for some of your trade pieces?

      I think everything depends on when JR thinks the team can compete again.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by John Bonnes View Post
      I know this is NEVER done, but I wonder if the Twins would consider going after Drabek even though he's undergoing TJ. It's not against the rules. Give that they've got a doctor poking around in his arm, they'll know as much about that condition as they ever will. I have to imagine he's available at a discount, especially for a need.

      It seems like a market inefficiency that one could leverage.
      I've always thought this was a prime area to "Moneyball". I've never understood why no one has made the jump to acquiring injured guys at discount prices. It's a win for both teams. The rebuilding team gets a piece that has the potential to help a bunch down the road, the contending team has a chance to win more by dealing a guy who won't be of help for considerable time.
    1. fetch's Avatar
      fetch -
      Quote Originally Posted by glunn View Post
      Great article.

      Syndergaard and Nicolino both seem very tempting. I continue to wonder why the Twins seem unable to identify and draft quality pitchers of the caliber. The Twins could have picked these guys, but did not. Maybe the Twins are just not good at scouting young starters?
      Especially Nicolino, since he's more of a stereotypical Twins type of pitcher.
    1. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      Quote Originally Posted by rocketpig View Post
      I've always thought this was a prime area to "Moneyball". I've never understood why no one has made the jump to acquiring injured guys at discount prices. It's a win for both teams. The rebuilding team gets a piece that has the potential to help a bunch down the road, the contending team has a chance to win more by dealing a guy who won't be of help for considerable time.
      I don't think it happens because teams (other then Bill Smith Run teams) typically don't like trading a player when his value is at an all time low. I'd imagine the Blue Jays have some faith that Drabek will rebound and be a nice young starting pitcher for them for years to come, they won't simply give that up for a rental like Carl Pavano or something. (Unless of course Bill Smith was the GM)
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      I don't think it happens because teams (other then Bill Smith Run teams) typically don't like trading a player when his value is at an all time low. I'd imagine the Blue Jays have some faith that Drabek will rebound and be a nice young starting pitcher for them for years to come, they won't simply give that up for a rental like Carl Pavano or something. (Unless of course Bill Smith was the GM)
      My point is that a middle ground can be reached, not that the Jays should hand Drabek to the first team that offers them someone with a pulse. I don't think Drabek should be traded for Pavano, I'm simply saying that by each side taking on a little risk, the deal could be advantageous for both teams.
    1. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      Quote Originally Posted by rocketpig View Post
      My point is that a middle ground can be reached, not that the Jays should hand Drabek to the first team that offers them someone with a pulse. I don't think Drabek should be traded for Pavano, I'm simply saying that by each side taking on a little risk, the deal could be advantageous for both teams.
      The other problem that exists with a guy like Drabek is that he has been complete garbage his entire time in the majors, 5.34 ERA, and a god awful 5.9/5.8 k/bb ratio, now through the TJ surgery in and he is at an all time low in value, the Jays have no reason to trade him (unless some dumb team offers you great value).
    1. gunnarthor's Avatar
      gunnarthor -
      Quote Originally Posted by glunn View Post
      Great article.

      Syndergaard and Nicolino both seem very tempting. I continue to wonder why the Twins seem unable to identify and draft quality pitchers of the caliber. The Twins could have picked these guys, but did not. Maybe the Twins are just not good at scouting young starters?
      I wasn't a huge fan of the Wimmers pick but he was supposed to be one of the safer picks in the 2010 draft and should've been quick to the majors. Hard to fault them on that. In the second round they took toolsy Nico Goodrum from Georgia. The Twins had wanted to improve their scouting in the southeast and had put Terry Ryan in charge of that area. He loved Goodrum. Obviously, I'd trade our two picks for theirs in a minute but their picks were certainly defensible.
    1. John Bonnes's Avatar
      John Bonnes -
      It seems to me that Alex Anthopoulos would be a lot more interested in a guy like Burton than Capps. We haven't talked much about trading him, but he's a free agent after 2013. If the Twins were offered, say, Carreno (SP above) for Burton and another lower level prospect (Angel Morales?) would you make that trade? I think I would.
    1. Nick Nelson's Avatar
      Nick Nelson -
      Re: Drabek... I don't think you can trade a player on the DL, can you?
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Quote Originally Posted by Nick Nelson View Post
      Re: Drabek... I don't think you can trade a player on the DL, can you?
      I thought you could if he was the minors... Gonna look into it now.
    1. Brock Beauchamp's Avatar
      Brock Beauchamp -
      Hmm. This guy says it can be done. Hardly concrete evidence but it's something.

      http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/htm...ers_yes_y.html
    1. FutureGM92's Avatar
      FutureGM92 -
      Quote Originally Posted by Badsmerf View Post
      Its an organizational flaw. For awhile now the Twins haven't drafted high end guys, and the ones they do end up needing surgery. Bad luck or bad scouting? I want fresh blood in the Twins brass and a new direction. I don't think JR can draft and build a winning team, the current scouts are looking for the right things in players, and the medical staff is incompetent.

      Both Wimmers and Gibson have excelled in the minors. No one can scout injuries. They both had no history of major injuries. But yes great Article. I would like to see that outfielder in A twins Uniform!
    1. Klochner's Avatar
      Klochner -
      The Jays haven't really been in win-now mode over the last few years. Instead, they've subtly improved their ML club and built one of the two or three best farms systems in baseball. I find it hard to believe that they're going to jump into the mix in a big way when they're still a fairly flawed team stuck in the hell that is the NL East.

      If they were in buy-mode, Sanchez, Comer, Cardona, Norris, Musgrove and Wojiechowski and the two pitchers would all make nice targets. Just about every one of those guys has a ceiling that would rank at or near the top of the Twins' system. In the case of Sanchez, Norris, Nicolino, Syndergaard, Comer and Cardona I don't really think it's close.
    1. SpiritofVodkaDave's Avatar
      SpiritofVodkaDave -
      Quote Originally Posted by FutureGM92 View Post
      Wimmers.....excelled in the minors.
      huh? Are we talking about the same guy?
    1. GCTF's Avatar
      GCTF -
      Quote Originally Posted by SpiritofVodkaDave View Post
      huh? Are we talking about the same guy?
      I was expecting to see a link for discount MLB jerseys after his post.
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