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The Blue Jays are making it an easy call to sell

Jul 24, 2013, 12:57 AM EDT

J.P. Arencibia AP

After holding a players only meeting earlier in the day, the Blue Jays were up on the Dodgers 8-3 after six innings Tuesday night, only to give up seven runs in the seventh and eighth innings to lose 10-9. It was their sixth straight defeat.

Even the All-Star setup crew is getting into the action now. Steve Delabar gave up four runs in Monday’s 14-5 loss, while Brett Cecil surrendered three runs in two-thirds of an inning tonight. Cecil’s ERA has jumped from 1.43 to 2.61 since July 7.

At 45-54, the Blue Jays aren’t only 14 1/2 games back of the Red Sox in the AL East, but they’re 11 games out of the second wild card. Even the fourth place Yankees have 7 1/2 games on them in the AL East.

So while the Blue Jays have been talked about as buyers — they were one of the teams reportedly in the hunt for Matt Garza — they’re really leaving GM Alex Anthopoulos and crew no choice but to sell.

Unfortunately, the pieces the Blue Jays would most want to move have little value at the moment:

  • Josh Johnson has lost his last four starts and has a 7.36 ERA over his last six starts.
  • Mark Buehrle‘s heavily backloaded deal calls for him to make $37 million the next two years.
  • Melky Cabrera just returned from an injury and has a .679 OPS.
  • Emilio Bonifacio hasn’t contributed as a utilityman, hitting .211/.251/.307.

The Blue Jays can and should deal from the pen, perhaps starting with closer Casey Janssen. Janssen is under control for $4 million next year and there isn’t a contender around that couldn’t use a guy like him, either for the eighth or ninth. The Jays can also part with one of their four lefties, whether it’s Cecil, Juan Perez or Darren Oliver. Aaron Loup is the keeper of the bunch.

One player the Jays probably can’t afford to move — and this would have come as a surprise a few months ago — is center fielder Colby Rasmus. Supposed heir apparent Anthony Gose has been a disaster in Triple-A, hitting just .230/.316/.303 and getting thrown out on 12 of his 24 steal attempts. Rasmus, a free agent after the 2014 season, has been a very good regular in spite of his strikeout problems, batting .267/.333/.480.

I doubt the Jays will part with any of their stars. There’s still plenty of talent here to get right back into the race next year. But it’s time to turn the page on 2013 and hopefully collect a few prospects to replace the ones they used in their deals for Jose Reyes and R.A. Dickey over the winter.

  1. losanginsight - Jul 24, 2013 at 1:08 AM

    First The Dodgers get the Nat’s hitting coach fired and now causing the Jays to sell.
    Let’s Go Dodgers!

    • greenzgrains / kamlesh Tukrel - Jul 24, 2013 at 1:30 AM

      Lol dodgers are lucky the division they’re in is a big fat JOKE!

      • Francisco (FC) - Jul 24, 2013 at 10:11 AM

        The NL East objects to that statement!

      • notsofast10 - Jul 24, 2013 at 12:10 PM

        5-0 since the break vs the Nat’s and Jay’s make you statement a big fat JOKE!

  2. drewzducks - Jul 24, 2013 at 1:16 AM

    I’m shocked that with so much obvious talent and a world class manager that this team has been an utter embarrassment. Not !

    • mathieug79 - Jul 24, 2013 at 8:50 AM

      I stopped reading at World class manager….

  3. greenzgrains / kamlesh Tukrel - Jul 24, 2013 at 1:17 AM

    Man get your facts right if you’re gonna write an article. Gose isn’t playing in Las Vegas. That’s the AAA of the Mets. The jays are now in buffalo with the bisons…

    • mlblogsbig3bosox - Jul 24, 2013 at 4:32 PM

      Blue Jays should start tanking so they can get Andrew Wiggins!

  4. greenzgrains / kamlesh Tukrel - Jul 24, 2013 at 1:20 AM

    Man get your facts right of you’re gonna write an article. Gose isn’t playing for Las Vegas, he’s playing for buffalo. Vegas is the AAA affiliate of the Mets. It changed last off season…

  5. bmg40 - Jul 24, 2013 at 1:20 AM

    Pretty sure that Gose is playing in Buffalo and not Las Vegas since they switched AAA affiliates this year.

    • Matthew Pouliot - Jul 24, 2013 at 2:21 AM

      Well, I can’t be the first person to mix up those two cities. They’re practically twins.

      • nbjays - Jul 24, 2013 at 6:49 AM

        What happens in Buffalo stays in Buffalo? Who knew?

      • proudlycanadian - Jul 24, 2013 at 7:16 AM

        All year Rotoworld has had Buffalo as the Mets farm team and Matthew writes for Rotoworld. I think that We now know who was making some of those goofs.

      • Glenn - Jul 24, 2013 at 10:15 AM

        I think that when “what happens” happens in Buffalo, it has no choice but to stay there.

  6. insidefastball - Jul 24, 2013 at 2:20 AM

    This roster is awful….I didn’t understand any of the off-season hype. Way too many swing for the fences/strikeout guys on offense, with too many utility players thrown in. The starting rotation is just dreadful. They are either hurt, over the hill, or better suited to pitch in the NL.

  7. buffalo65 - Jul 24, 2013 at 6:09 AM

    Keep the core and reload for next year. Boney was a huge disappointment. Need to qualify Johnson and hope he bounces back cause he will likely accept it. Add a guy or two and play better.

  8. dondada10 - Jul 24, 2013 at 6:58 AM

    Hey Jays, I’ll give you TDA back for Reyes. We’re keeping Syndergaard.

    • proudlycanadian - Jul 24, 2013 at 7:22 AM

      Snydergaard is definitely a keeper. The Jays had 3 top pitching prospects at Lansing in 2012. In Sanchez, they kept the one they liked the best.Travis d’Arnaud who was much beloved as a prospect last season by Matthew is (as you have noticed) injury prone. The Jays have another hot catching prospect in Double A and do not need d’Arnaud.

      • mathieug79 - Jul 24, 2013 at 8:53 AM

        Also AJ Jimenez is better defender than TDA, but more of a line drive hitter. Upgrade over Aaron Cibia for sure!

      • dirtyharry1971 - Jul 24, 2013 at 9:31 AM

        Yea but we know what happens to jays so called hot prospects when they hit the majors don’t we pc? They go up in FLAMES!! Time to join the expos, its only getting worse with each passing year.

  9. proudlycanadian - Jul 24, 2013 at 7:38 AM

    Obviously the season has not gone as well as expected partly due to injuries and partly due to lousy starting pitching. The bullpen consequently has been over used and that over use caught up to them in the last 2 games. They do have a surplus of relief pitchers, so trading a couple makes sense. They still have Santos about to return from the DL and still have 2 very good relief pitchers in Buffalo. If they are going to trade a lefty, it would be Oliver who is nearing retirement and would probably be happy in Texas.

    Melky has been injured and a disappointment, but down in Buffalo is his future replacement in Kevin Pillar who has hit above .300 at every stop in his development. As far as pitching is concerned, next year’s rotation is likely to include Drabek and Hutchinson who are coming off Tommy John surgery. Happ had a rehab start in Buffalo yesterday and needs 2 more before he will be ready.

    • turdfurgerson68 - Jul 24, 2013 at 9:59 AM

      ‘The trade’ has turned out to be an expensive disaster as was signing melky

      Gibbons may survive this debacle (although he shouldn’t); Anthropolous however should be fired immediately after the last game of the season ends.

      • proudlycanadian - Jul 24, 2013 at 10:26 AM

        Nice try; however, the off season moves were approved by the team ownership and the fans. Attendance is up in Toronto by more than in any other city. As far as AA is concerned, he is the person who accumulated the prospects who were traded, while at the same time managing to retain several excellent prospects. The cupboards are not bare.

      • turdfurgerson68 - Jul 24, 2013 at 12:09 PM

        Oh believe me, i do hope toronto keeps both AA and Gibbons, preferably long-term.

        There return will alwost certainly keep Jays firmly in 4th-5th place for awhile.

  10. Mark - Jul 24, 2013 at 7:45 AM

    Janssen, Oliver & Lind would be the top 3 guys to get rid of. Beyond that like you said, they’re stuck with everybody they should trade because of poor performance, contract issues, or both.

    • nbjays - Jul 24, 2013 at 8:19 AM

      Can we add JPA to that list?

      • mathieug79 - Jul 24, 2013 at 9:06 AM

        I would rather keep him to finish the season, Unless we sign a guy like Brian McCann in the offseason, I think he’ll be back. AA likes to stick with guys who don’t perform as they should… until they reach peak values ( see: LIND) I don’t care what people say but Arencibia last season was a “decent” defensive catcher with a lot of pop in his bat! It started this season…He’s now one of the worst catchers I’ve seen defensively. ball in the dirt he doesn’t even get in front of it, Pass balls on pitches that he looks like he definetly should’ve had (not counting Dickey’s outings), and Framing pitches, there’s far too many pitches that he doesn’t catch cleanly and keep his glove close to the zone for the umpire to maybe call a strike. He definetly took a step backward defensively this year, and probably caused his pitchers an inflated ERA, and probably even games. I remember 2 games this year where the runners were on 2nd base in the 9th in a close game and a pass ball goes by to move the runner 3rd. There is very little catchers on the market (exception: Brian McCann) I think they will stick with JPA for a while until AJ Jimenez is ready.

      • churchoftheperpetuallyoutraged - Jul 24, 2013 at 9:08 AM

        Arencibia is awful. Why would a team trade for someone with a career .270 OBP?

  11. dirtyharry1971 - Jul 24, 2013 at 9:33 AM

    I wouldn’t give a bag of balls for anything on the bluejays right now. Its going to get worse before it gets better too and by the time it starts to get better the jays will be joining the expos

  12. bigmeechy74 - Jul 24, 2013 at 9:38 AM

    What were they thinking this offseason???? They actually filled out their team with good players! They have 2 guys (Encarnacion and bautista) that can absolutely mash, plus Jose Reyes etc. But they are terrible. Meanwhile the Yankees just won a game with a 9th inning rally by vernon wells, eduardo nunez, and brent lillibridge. So the moral of the story is, 1) Don’t develop talent in the minors 2) Have as many players as possible on the wrong side of thirty-five 3) When injuries strike, fill out your roster with fringe major leaguers… and watch the wins pile up! Hey it worked for the yankees!

  13. dirtyharry1971 - Jul 24, 2013 at 9:57 AM

    shortest video you can buy will be bluejays 2013 highlights, you will be done and finished in 3 minutes

    • nbjays - Jul 24, 2013 at 2:42 PM

      Nope! Shortest will be “Dirtyharry1971’s most thoughtful and insightful HBT posts”, which will be zero minutes long.

  14. halejon - Jul 24, 2013 at 1:23 PM

    Right. So the Jays are going to sell their super-cheap and effective closer for long-term prospects, when they are going all-out to win in the window of the next few years. And gut the bullpen for middle relievers that never get you much anyway so they can be in need of rebuilding it next year. Thanks for this incredibly simplistic “they play bad so they must sell” analysis.

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