Blue Jays Notes: Bichette, Guerrero, Chapman, Nola
Blue Jays shortstop Bo Bichette has come up in trade rumors, but it seems unlikely that a deal will happen. The Jays are receiving calls about Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr., but they are not motivated to trade either player. Trading Bichette or Guerrero would make it harder for the Jays to upgrade their position player group. Both players are valuable assets, and it would be difficult to find a trade that makes sense for both sides.
Jays Unlikely to Trade Bichette or Guerrero
Trade rumors have been surrounding Blue Jays shortstop Bo Bichette this offseason, but it seems that a deal is not likely to happen. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic and Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet both downplayed the likelihood of the Jays choosing to trade Bichette in columns today. Executives from other teams also gave the impression that the Jays plan to hold onto him. While the Jays are receiving calls about Bichette and first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr., they are not motivated to move either player.
The Jays are also in need of upgrades in their position player group, as they have to replace free agents Matt Chapman, Whit Merrifield, Brandon Belt, and Kevin Kiermaier. Trading Bichette or Guerrero would only make that task more difficult. It's hard to imagine a trade that would make sense for both sides, as both players are valuable assets to the Jays.
Bichette has been a standout performer for the Jays, producing 13.5 wins above replacement over the past three years, according to FanGraphs. Guerrero's past two seasons weren't as strong as his 2021 campaign, but he still hit roughly 30 home runs with a low strikeout rate. With the Jays actively pursuing Shohei Ohtani, trading Bichette or Guerrero would not help their pitch to Ohtani.
Possible Chapman Reunion and Pursuit of Nola
The Blue Jays have shown interest in reuniting with third baseman Matt Chapman, but there is nothing close to being done yet. Chapman reportedly turned down a contract extension offer of four or five years while still with the club. The Jays also considered right-hander Aaron Nola, but he re-signed with the Phillies before anything could materialize. Although the Jays prioritized their lineup, they are still open to adding a rotation piece, with Yoshinobu Yamamoto also being connected to the team.
The Jays' current rotation includes Kevin Gausman, José Berríos, Chris Bassitt, and Yusei Kikuchi. They also have options for the back end, such as Alek Manoah, Bowden Francis, Mitch White, and prospect Ricky Tiedemann. If the Jays were to add Nola or Yamamoto to the rotation, it would likely lead to someone becoming available in a trade, with Manoah being a potential candidate.
Overall, the Blue Jays' offseason has been relatively quiet so far, with only minor transactions taking place. Their upcoming moves may depend on their pursuit of Shohei Ohtani, as the club is seen as one of the contenders for the two-way superstar. While they have some interest in Chapman, pursuing Yamamoto or potentially going after Cody Bellinger, these options may be put on hold until there is more clarity on the Ohtani situation. Since Ohtani is expected to receive a record-breaking deal, the Jays likely want to assess their chances before committing significant funds to other options.
Ohtani Pursuit and Its Impact on Future Moves
The Toronto Blue Jays are considered one of the legitimate contenders for Shohei Ohtani, and it's possible that their upcoming moves will depend on their pursuit of the two-way superstar. While there is some openness to reuniting with Matt Chapman, pursuing Yoshinobu Yamamoto, or going after Cody Bellinger, these options may take a backseat until there is more clarity on the Ohtani situation.
It is widely expected that Ohtani will require a record-breaking deal of $500 million or more. Therefore, the Blue Jays would likely want to assess their chances of acquiring him before committing significant funds to other options. The Jays' pursuit of Ohtani may shape their offseason moves, as they may prioritize securing him before making other moves to improve their team.