Editor’s Note — The following trade propositions do not reflect the opinion of other 360BlueJayNews writers.
Following two straight trips to the ALCS, expectations were high coming into the 2017 season. With the Blue Jays coming out of last place in the A.L. East for the first time on the last day of the season, obviously they disappointed. Nevertheless, Blue Jays fans remain optimistic for the 2018 season. If the Jays have any chance of competing this year, they need to stay healthy. Key names like Devon Travis, Aaron Sanchez, Josh Donaldson and Troy Tulowitzki need to stay off the DL.
Below, you will find my predictions for the 2018 season, my projected 2018 opening day roster along with who I think the Blue Jays should acquire this off season.
My projected 2018 opening day roster:
Marwin Gonzalez – LF
Charlie Blackmon – CF
Teoscar Hernandez – RF
Josh Donaldson – 3B
Troy Tulowitzki – SS
Devon Travis – 2B
Justin Smoak – 1B
Jonathon Lucroy – C
I know what your immediate thought is. “Blackmon, Lucroy? Where’s Pillar and Martin?!”
Let me break it down for you. Here are all the trades/acquisitions I think the Blue Jays should make this offseason. I’m not saying they will, but I think they should.
Acquire: Eduardo Nunez. He can play third base, second base or shortstop. With the injury history of Josh Donaldson, Troy Tulowitzki and Devon Travis, he’d be a great utility player to have. I don’t think Ryan Goins or Darwin Barney as an everyday player is good enough.
Acquire: Alex Cobb. Cobb is a solid pitcher with a career ERA of below 4.00 who, compared to other pitchers on the market, would come cheap. He would solidify a solid rotation consisting of Marcus Stroman, Aaron Sanchez, Marco Estrada, J.A. Happ and Cobb.
Trade: Kevin Pillar and Russell Martin for Charlie Blackmon and Jonathan Lucroy. Although Pillar is a great defensive player, his bat doesn’t get the job done. Blackmon had an insane .331 batting average in 2017 with the Colorado Rockies. Pillar is better defensively, but Blackmon’s bat is much better. Because of Pillar’s defensive upside, the Rockies might go for the deal.
Lucroy’s bat was cold last season, with a .265 average and only six homers, while Martin had a measly .221 average with 13 homers. Both catchers are coming off of down offensive seasons, with both respective clubs hoping the player they acquire can return to their normal offense.
Trade: Kendrys Morales and Steve Pearce for Marwin Gonzalez. Marwin Gonzalez is a terrific utility player the Blue Jays could use. With the Blue Jays constantly getting hurt, Gonzalez would be really valuable to this injury prone team. The Astros current designated hitters, Evan Gattis and Carlos Beltran, could use an upgrade. Even with Morales’ down year, he still hit 28 home runs with a .250 batting average. Steve Pearce had a mediocre year, playing in only 92 games while hitting 13 long bombs to go along with a .252 average. Injuries have consistently held him back over the past few years.
Last season was filled with anger and heartbreak, which all started with a 2-11 start. If the Blue Jays want to get back to where they were in 2015 and 2016, they need to come out of the gates hot.
I think the Boston Red Sox will once again win the A.L. East division, primarily because of their proven success in the past two seasons. The division will be between the Red Sox, New York Yankees and Blue Jays all year, but in the end the Red Sox will win, setting up a Yankees – Blue Jays wild card game, which I think the Blue Jays will win. Heading into the American League Division Series, it’s impossible to predict how Toronto will perform.
By: Travis Aylward
Follow me on Twitter: @travaylward