The Toronto Blue Jays made their big splash in the offseason by signing former Astro George Springer to a six-year $150 million deal becoming the highest-paid player in the team’s history.
To say that things haven’t gotten off to an ideal start with Springer would be an understatement. He is yet to play a game for the bluebirds and has suffered a couple of setbacks, but things have been looking up for him to make his return sometime in the very near future. That is the good news for the Jays, but there is also bad news.
The bad news is that someone needs to come out to get Springer into the lineup, and so far, the outfielders that have played have looked really good for the most part. Let’s consider what this means for the Blue Jays for a second. This is a good problem to have. It’s never a bad thing to have too many good players, and while you can’t play them all at the same time in some cases, you can certainly find value in them one way or another. Let’s take a look at the options they have.
Randal Grichuk – Some fans thought that Grichuk could be cast-off to some other franchise in return for some starting pitching in the offseason, but with the start he has had this season, I can assure your that he isn’t going anywhere. A player that usually gets off to a slow start, Grichuk may have used Springer as motivation to buck that trend early in 2021.
He has been one of the Jays’ best players so far on the season hitting .308 with three home runs and 13 RBIs. Grichuk has also looked really good in the field this season and is yet to commit an error seeing time in both right and center field.
Teoscar Hernández – Hernández has missed some time this season after contracting COVID-19 and when he has been playing, he has been off to a bit of a cold start with the bat. Hitting only .207 and yet to draw a walk, Hernández is still an integral piece to the Blue Jays’ pie and shouldn’t be the one that makes way to Springer to get into the lineup.
Hernández will add some pop into the lineup when he eventually does come back from his illness, and although his fielding could use some work, he still needs to play. His role could be DHing some nights and playing the field on others, but he will see considerable playing time as an everyday player when he returns.
Lourdes Gurriel Jr. – Here’s where things get interesting. Gurriel Jr. is an everyday quality player in MLB, but he could be the odd man out when the Blue Jays get healthy. There is always the option to keep him as an occasional starter and bench bat, but there is another option with him.
You can always look to trade Gurriel Jr., and while you would like to keep him, that might not be possible if the outfield becomes too crowded. He has gotten off to a slow start at the plate this season and could still have some value to bring back some starting pitching, something the Jays need.
Jonathan Davis – It seems inevitable to me that Davis is going to be optioned either to the alternate training site or to AAA Buffalo when Springer gets back healthy simply because he has been out-performed by Josh Palacios so far this season.
As much as the fan base and myself like Davis and he has proven to be one of the better people in the Blue Jays clubhouse, it is a business at the end of the day, and I don’t think having him on your bench gives you a better chance to win each night.
Josh Palacios – What a great story Palacios has been for the Blue Jays this season. After a great Spring Training from the 25-year-old from Brooklyn, he was given the chance to compete in the big leagues. He has out performed expectations and I expect him to stick around for a bit.
Hitting .250 with 28 at-bats, Palacios has four RBIs to his name already. He has played every outfield position already this season and looks to be a good player to keep on the bench when someone needs a day off or even for a pinch-run situation. Right now, there is more up-side to Palacios than there is for Davis.
Let’s explore the idea of trading Gurriel Jr. for a second. There were talks that he could be one of the players needing to go to Cleveland if the Blue Jays wanted to land Francisco Lindor in the offseason before he was traded to the New York Mets. If that is anywhere close to true, the Jays might have some serious value to play with.
There are some names out there that could be available for trade if the Blue Jays decide to go that route, but here are some of the more intriguing ones. Let’s start with some players on the CBS MLB trade candidates list.
German Márquez is the first pitcher on the list, but also maybe the one the Jays want to look at the most. Márquez has been pitching in the unfriendly confines of Coors Field in Colorado, a place notoriously knows for being a hitters park with the thin air, but has managed to keep his ERA and record respectable.
Márquez has the stuff that the Blue Jays would be looking for in the starting rotation, and doing this could allow them to get Tanner Roark off the roster should they wish to do so. At the expense of Gurriel Jr., this is a risk I would be willing to take.
Other names that the team could be looking at include Kevin Gausman or Luis Castillo. Of course, there are other names out there that could be moved at some point in the season and no one is safe ultimately. Thankfully for the Blue Jays, they have options of what they want to do, but they should look at using Gurriel Jr. as trade bait to get some starting pitching back.