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Matching up a Josh Hader trade: Toronto Blue Jays

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Could one of the Blue Jays’ core be included in a package for Hader

MLB: Milwaukee Brewers at Chicago White Sox Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

Reports are that the Toronto Blue Jays plan to be extremely active in trade discussions. The Blue Jays have already traded with Seattle for the services of Taijuan Walker. Indications are that they might be looking for another starter as well as a catcher. With a record of 15-14 and sitting two games behind the Yankees for the second spot in the American League East, Toronto looks like it wants to go for it. One area that every team needs help with during a playoff run is the bullpen. The Blue Jays are sorely lacking in this area. Which team has the most coveted reliever in the game?

With that acknowledged, Toronto would have to give up that “bananas” price tag to get him. Do the Blue Jays have the MLB players and prospect talent that they would be willing to deal away? That is the ultimate question. They certainly have the organizational talent to do it.

MLB talent Blue Jays would be willing to part with

Lourdes Gurriel Jr.

When Gurriel is healthy, he is a productive player. Coming to the United States from Cuba along with his brother, Yuli Gurriel, the Toronto Blue Jays outbid every other team for his services. The Gurriels come from a famous baseball family in Cuba in which Lourdes Gurriel Sr. is considered one of the best players ever to play in that country. Gurriel Jr. can play virtually anywhere on the diamond, and he tends to play in the outfield these days.

Currently Gurriel Jr. is slashing .257/.313/.436. Those type of numbers are pretty nice for what amounts to a versatile utility player. He shows the ability to be a bit more than that. Over 343 plate appearances in 2019, he slashed .277/.327/.541 with an impressive 124 wRC+.

Craig Counsell would be able to plug this guy anywhere he was needed, and he should put up good offensive numbers while doing it. There is no way he could headline a deal for Hader, but he might be a nice piece in a package, especially since there is some relative cost certainty with his contract. Plus at just 26, he is not a free agent until 2025.

Teoscar Hernandez

The 27 year old Hernandez is a solid outfielder. He is generally a league average hitter most seasons. Currently he is logging a 161 wRC+. That is probably more a reflection of a hot streak more than taking a next step. Hernandez is good, and it makes some sense the Jays would include him in trade talks. He would be a back end piece at best in a package for Hader. He becomes arbitration eligible in 2021 and free agent eligible in 2024.

Prospect talent Brewers would be interested in

Nate Pearson

Pearson would likely have to be one of the pieces in a package for Hader. He is the Blue Jays top prospect and the #9 prospect in baseball according to MLB Pipeline. Pearson is a tall drink of water at 6’6,” and he can throw gas. MLB Pipeline grades his fastball at 80 and a 65 overall. It is said he has hit 104 mph on the radar gun.

Pearson has had some problems with injury. In fact he is currently on the IL, and he was unable to secure a rotation spot in his first go around with the big league club because of said injury and a 6.61 ERA in four starts.

Acknowledging his early struggles, Pearson has the makings an ace if he can stay healthy. It is probably the only prospect in the Blue Jays organization that would move the needle on a Hader trade. Giving up a potential ace would be a bitter pill to swallow, and one that the Jays’ organization would refuse to do.

Austin Martin

Martin was the Blue Jays first round draft pick in the 2020 draft going #5 overall. He is a 21 year old athlete that could play any position in the infield or outfield although there are concerns about his arm. MLB Pipeline grades his hit tool at 65.

Prior to the draft MLB Pipeline described Martin:

The best pure hitter in this year’s Draft, Martin has outstanding feel for the barrel and effortlessly makes hard contact with a short, quick right-handed stroke. He’s not overly physical and may not possess more than average raw power, but his uncanny hitting ability allows him to make the most of it. He controls the strike zone very well and uses the entire field, showing no weaknesses at the plate.

Jordan Groshans

Groshans is the third ranked prospect in the Blue Jays system. The 20 year old shortstop was another first round draft pick in 2018. MLB Pipeline describes him as follows:

Combining plus bat speed with a balanced swing and a knack for barreling the baseball, Groshans has the potential to hit for average and power from the right side of the plate. He consistently hits hard line drives with backspin carry to all fields, has no problem turning around quality velocity and employs an approach that’s advanced for his age. Scouts believe Groshans will develop plus power as he grows into his projectable 6-foot-3 frame and adds some loft to his swing, and he already shows an innate feel for driving the ball the other way with authority.

MLB talent Brewers might ask for, but would be a surprise if included in a package

The Milwaukee Brewers want a “bananas” package for Josh Hader. With the exception of Pearson, the players mentioned above likely don’t begin a conversation for a Hader package. The unlikeliest scenario of all would be the inclusion of one of the Toronto core from the infield. But just for fun.

Cavan Biggio

If there was one of the core that would be most likely included in trade packages, it would probably be Biggio. Biggio is not arbitration eligible until 2023, and he can become a free agent in 2026. There would be a tremendous amount of control the Brewers would enjoy if Biggio could by pried away from Toronto.

Right now it looks like the apple didn’t fall far from the tree. So far this year he is posting a wRC+ of 149 and he had a 114 wRC+ in his rookie campaign. He is 25 years old, and the team that he plays for has him throughout his prime at a very reasonable price for the next two years definitely.

Bo Bichette

Bichette has been the best of the bunch thus far. In his rookie campaign, Bichette slashed .311/.358/.571 from the shortstop position. So far this season, he is slashing .361/.391/.672. Bichette is already an elite hitter. I can’t see any scenario where he is included in a trade package for Hader, but one can dream.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

Guerrero Jr. is expected to be a generational talented, maybe even better than his father who is in the Hall of Fame. While hitting at a decent clip, he has not performed to the level of his lofty expectations. In his rookie year, he slashed .272/.339/.443. So far this season, the slash line is similar, .255/.333/.445. Has the Blue Jays’ front office possibly soured on him enough to include him in a deal. Probably not, but one never knows.

Statistics courtesy of Fangraphs