In late July, the Toronto Blue Jays went about remaking their roster by shipping J.A. Happ, Roberto Osuna, Aaron Loup and Seunghwan Oh out of town and bringing in a mini wave of prospects.
Their work wasn’t necessarily done, though. Friday is the waiver trade deadline, and the club will look to stay active in its quest to get younger and more athletic as it resets for its next competitive window.
All eyes are on the Josh Donaldson situation as the team was expected to put him on waivers, but since he was unable to play on Wednesday due to leg soreness, it’s unclear where he stands. However, there are four Blue Jays players who have cleared waivers according to multiple reports and are eligible to be traded to any team.
That doesn’t mean they will be moved, but here’s the quartet that can definitely be traded by the weekend — albeit for a modest return:
Morales is a bit of a difficult case because it doesn’t look like there’s a fit for him out there despite his production. Considering he’s under contract through 2019 with $12 million on the books for next year, the Blue Jays would have to eat a lot of money to make any trade viable, and even then it’s hard to imagine.
The 35-year-old has played some first base this year, but realistically he’s a designated hitter, and none of the American League contenders are really hurting for a DH. Morales has hit .286/.368/.543 with 17 home runs since the beginning of June, but his lack of positional flexibility tanks his trade value and makes him very difficult to move.
At this point Estrada is both an injury and performance risk, and it doesn’t help that he got absolutely shelled in his last outing. The 35-year-old has been slightly better in recent months after a brutal start, but this makes two disappointing seasons in a row.
That said, starting pitching is hard to come by and if the Blue Jays are willing to eat the majority of his salary there could be a taker for Estrada. The veteran has a reputation as a strong playoff performer, his flyball tendencies could play better in certain ballparks or with strong defensive outfielders, and there are a few teams that could use some starting help like the Oakland Athletics.
There’s no guarantee Estrada is out the door, but a contender could see him as a bottom-of-the-rotation flier worth rolling the dice on if they’re willing to squint a bit.
Granderson can still be useful as a left-handed bat off the bench and spot starter against righties, who he’s hit to the tune of .250/.345/.443. His bonafides as a clubhouse presence are unquestioned and if he’s the 24th or 25th man on your roster, you’re probably doing alright.
That doesn’t necessarily mean there’s a spot for him. Most clubs would prefer a little more defensive ability in their bench outfielders and the way he cratered at the end of last season with the Los Angeles Dodgers could be cause for concern. He’s also truly unplayable against southpaws.
If anyone grabs Granderson for their playoff run they won’t be disappointment as long as they let him do what he’s good at and limit his at-bats against lefties and time in the field.
The fact Smoak cleared waivers in the first place is somewhat surprising considering his affordable price tag and 2019 option. Because he’s a first baseman only, the landing spots for him are pretty limited, the New York Yankees are arguably the best fit because they’re starting unheralded 27-year-old Luke Voit there. Even that’s not an ideal spot because Voit is raking and the Yankees just traded for him a month ago.
Realistically, if no one wanted the patient and productive Smoak at his reasonable salary, it’s hard to imagine them trading for him at this point. Waiver trades are usually for players who are useful but overpaid and he really doesn’t fit the bill.
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