Trade Chips: Toronto Blue Jays

by: Eric Boston @EricBoston3

The Toronto Blue Jays may be in the best position of any team in this “Trade Chips” series.

(If you missed them make sure you check out posts on the Orioles, Rangers, Mets, and Reds)

Toronto has some young talent to build around. If they add complimentary pieces to that core they should be able to compete for a return to the playoffs…it is just not happening in 2018.

That sort of thing happens when you are in the same division with juggernauts such as the Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees.

The silver lining for the Jays is that they also have some veteran players on the roster who can help build up their system by bringing back quality in return.  I expect Toronto to be an active seller at this year’s trade deadline, especially if they want to position themselves for longer-term contention.

Here are the top three players I see the team dealing.

Donaldson has dealt with some injury and has only collected 137 at bats in 2018.

In those plate appearances he has slashed .234/.333/.423 with 5 HRs and 16 RBIs. The 32 year old, once healthy, should bounce back closer to his career norms and provide solid production for any team that acquires him.

Teams looking at Donaldson will be doing so knowing that he could be a rental as he is set to hit free agency this winter.

Best Fits: St. Louis Cardinals, New York Yankees, Atlanta Braves

The connection between the Cardinals and Donaldson has been known for quite some time now. I think this is finally the time when the team “gets their man”. Unfortunately, they may have waited too long to get the most out of such a move.

St. Louis does not appear, at least to me, to be in a real position to reach the postseason this year. However, the Red Birds are one team that I think would have a legitimate shot at retaining Donaldson if they make the move to trade for him. In that case, he could definitely help with a playoff push in 2019.

The 35 year old Happ is not a front-end starter, the position he finds himself in for the Blue Jays.

In 105.1 IP he is sporting a 4.44 ERA, but a 10-5 record. The lefty has notched 115 Ks compared to 34 BBs, numbers that make for a solid middle of the rotation pitcher. He would be an asset in a Game 3 or 4 during the playoffs.

Like Donaldson, Happ is a free agent after the season. With big name SPs potentially available for trade, the cost to obtain Happ could make him an affordable alternative.

Best Fits: Atlanta Braves, Seattle Mariners, Chicago Cubs

The Braves are for real in the National League East; the question is are they for real when the calendar hits October?

They need to improve their pitching if they truly want to contend for an NL pennant. Happ would not give them an ace, but he would give them quality depth to help bring them closer to where they are trying to get.

At 33 years old Clippard is still performing as a solid bullpen piece.

In 43.2 IP in 2018 he has put up a 3.09 ERA with 6 saves, 51 Ks, and 16 BBs. Teams hoping to land a shut down closer before the deadline won’t be looking at Clippard, but teams who need a seventh inning guy should be interested.

Clippard is another free agent after the season, but like Happ the price to acquire him should be affordable enough.

Best Fits: Cleveland Indians, Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago Cubs

As with pretty much any decent RP, there are plenty of teams that could poke around for their services. In this case Cleveland seems like a solid fit. The team has a good rotation, but their bullpen could use some more help.

Clippard could slide in nicely in a seventh or eighth inning role and help the Tribe come October (let’s face it, they could win the American League Central if I was in their bullpen).

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