Sitting at a dismal 64-76, the Toronto Blue Jays are exactly where they did not want to be entering this season- square one.
After a swarm of injuries early in the year and an overall slump in the once dominant offence, the Jays are once again playing meaningless baseball in the month of September with lots of questions for next year’s squad. Caught in-between a retool of the aging roster and a full scale rebuild, let’s have a look at what the team would look like with or without some of the team’s biggest stars.
Stay: Donaldson goes into this upcoming offseason under contract (arbitration eligible) for one more year, until he will test the waters of free-agency as an unrestricted free agent. To lock down one of the most iconic players and arguably the greatest 3B in Blue Jays history would be vital in keeping a winning team on the field and making another push late in the year. Donaldson is among the elite at the hot corner and one of the most complete hitters, giving the Jays depth at the 2-spot in the lineup
Go: Should the Jays not strike a deal with Donaldson in the offseason, his days in Toronto are certainly numbered. They’ll need to look to ship him in the offseason to load up on prospects or get rid of him come the next trade deadline if the team is not in striking distance of the postseason.
Stay: Over the last two seasons, Bautista’s numbers have dramatically dropped at the plate. This year alone, he’s hitting .205 (through September 6th) and has a measly 21 HR in 136 games. He’ll go into the offseason with a mutual option, and with the numbers and quality of play he’s put up on the field, it wouldn’t be a wise decision for the team to pick up his option. If Bautista stays, its for his legacy- not for his impact statistically on the team.
Go: It’s hard to find a fit for Joey Bats on any other team in the majors, as his age is a big warning sign for many other clubs in baseball. Wherever he ends up, he will still stay one of the greatest Blue Jays of all time, with his name practically guaranteed on the level of excellence.
Stay: Another free agent on the club, the Jays will need to lock up Estrada to a long-term deal to keep him in Toronto. Coming off his worst season over the last 3 years, it will be difficult to field big offers for the 34 year old, and with Marcus Stroman, Aaron Sanchez, T.J Zeuch and Carlos Ramirez pitching well, Estrada will have to battle to keep his spot in the rotation in 2018.
Go: Estrada will leave a hole in the rotation, but will open up many opportunities for young pitchers in the farm system. After allegedly gauging interest from many playoff-bound teams at the trade deadline, Estrada will definitely be a viable option in the rotation for many other teams in the majors.