After a conference call with the baseball operations staff on Friday afternoon, the Blue Jays front office has decided what their plans will be for trades in July, according to a source familiar with the situation. Specifically, the team is open to trading any of their four players with fewer than a year of control left, namely Marco Estrada, Joe Smith, Francisco Liriano, and Jose Bautista. Additionally, the club will also listen to trade offers on a couple of players who will hit the free agent market after 2018, like Steve Pearce or J.A. Happ, but are in no hurry to move them. This lines up with what Mark Shapiro has been saying all along in the media, specifically to Shi Davidi of Sportsnet and Scott MacArthur of TSN Radio.
However, the source also mentioned that the team will not be looking to dump salaries and start a rebuild. The trades must make sense from a baseball standpoint for the club at this point, and the team is even open to taking salary on in trades like they did last year when acquiring Francisco Liriano from the Pittsburgh Pirates. The front office is intent on improving the team for the rest of this season, 2018, and beyond.
Despite rumours from various members of the national media in the United States, like Jon Morosi, Buster Olney, and Jon Heyman, the Blue Jays have no plans to trade big pieces like Josh Donaldson, Roberto Osuna, Marcus Stroman, Kevin Pillar, or Aaron Sanchez according to the same club source. The team would need to be “completely overwhelmed by players with multiple years of control” in order to move any of those players.
The team has had scouts on assignments across baseball in the past few weeks, and that will continue until the July 31st deadline and even after it. Because of this, anytime you read “Blue Jays are scouting Player X,” take it with a grain of salt as the Blue Jays are scouting virtually everybody in the league to do their due diligence.
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