The Jays Should Trade Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero, Jr.

After the short-lived success of the Toronto Blue Jays in 2015 and 2016, the Jays’ front office began a rebuild and vowed to put together a contender built not just to return to October, but to be a consistent winner for an extended window. This winner was meant to be built around stars Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr who debuted in 2019, signifying a new era of baseball in Toronto. Now, five years into this era it’s safe to say what was supposed to be an extended window with this core is coming to an end and it’s time for the Jays to trade Bichette and Guerrero.

While that idea would have been unthinkable not too long ago, this team is now in their second straight underperforming season and the front office has done nothing to extend their competitive window, instead making the roster older and more expensive than it needed to be. They have made the postseason in three of the last four seasons but have been swept in the Wild Card round each year, never posing a real threat to go on a deep run and things are looking worse in 2024, as Fangraphs gives them just a 15.4% chance of making the playoffs. The offense is ineffective and the pitching staff lacks depth, it’s time for the Blue Jays’ front office to be honest about their team and move on from this core.

Why It’s Time To Trade Vlad Guerrero Jr and Bo Bichette

This Team Needs To Get Younger To Stay Relevant

Apr 8, 2024; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (27) and shortstop Bo Bichette (11) celebrate after scoring against the Seattle Mariners in the third inning at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

It wasn’t long ago that this Blue Jays squad was considered one of the best young rosters in the game, but as this core has aged and the front office made the ill-advised decision to trade youth for experience they are now shockingly the seventh oldest team in baseball. Comparing that to other teams that were on the same rebuilding timeline as them shows how bad that is, the Baltimore Orioles and Seattle Mariners are both very likely to make the playoffs this year and rank 16th and 26th respectively.

It is impossible to sustain any sort of competitiveness if your team keeps getting older, as older players decline or become too expensive, the team begins to fall off and a full-fledged rebuild becomes necessary. Though the Jays are still at a point where they can avoid that fate, the fate the 2016 World Series champion Chicago Cubs suffered in 2021 like many others, if they trade their top players for young talent before it’s too late.

So far in this first half the Jays have shown they have some young talent to help keep the franchise competitive after the current core leaves, but they need help desperately. Players like infielders Ernie Clement, Spencer Horwitz, and left-fielder Davis Schneider are already producing like quality big leaguers. They will be joined by fellow slugging infielders Addison Barger and Orelvis Martinez’s project to inject some much-needed offense into the big club. While those are all very solid players, that is not enough to create a consistent winner, especially since Clement and Horwitz are late bloomers already in their mid-twenties.

Dealing away two relatively young stars with more than a year of control left would garner franchise-altering benefits for years to come. It is not only the most responsible decision for the front office, it is now the only way they can stay true to their commitment to build a consistent winner.

Over the last few seasons, the Jays have committed the cardinal sin of consistency, impatience. They were too impatient to let the young core develop and traded away much of it for older players while supplementing the core with veteran free agents who were always certain to become burdens at the end of their deal. That is not what successful organizations do and is exactly what leads to situations like these, where you’re faced with a choice to either get younger fast or face the reality of another long rebuild.

The Return Will Be Better Before They’re Rentals

In many cases, teams, like the aforementioned 2021 Cubs, make the mistake of holding on to their core players for too long until they are either dealt as rentals in the off-season or at the deadline with just one playoff run remaining on their contract. In either of these situations, the selling team’s return is severely diminished but if the Jays deal stars like Bichette and Guerrero before that happens, the Jays would likely reap the rewards for years to come.

Just think of what desperate competitive teams would be willing to give up for controllable stars in their mid-20s in a pressure situation like the trade deadline. Short-sighted teams will be lining up to give away their futures for a couple of title shots and will live to regret it, as it happens every offseason and deadline. These next 45 days are pivotal for the direction of this organization and if they play their cards right, it will be looked upon very favorably.

Bo Bichette:

Jun 8, 2024; Oakland, California, USA; Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Bo Bichette (11) throws the ball to first to record an out against the Oakland Athletics in the eighth inning at Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Cary Edmondson-USA TODAY Sports

The 26-year-old Bichette has been one of the best offensive shortstops in the game his entire career and while he’s been struggling mightily to start 2024, his track record and control through 2025 give him immense value on the trade market. As well, he is likely to turn it around by the July 30 deadline when he would likely be dealt. The prospect package the Jays would receive could be franchise-altering, not only injecting some young talent into an organization that desperately needs it but also helping this team remain competitive in the near future.

The closest comparison we have for a Bo Bichette trade would be the Francisco Lindor trade in 2021, a trade that continues to have a positive impact on the Cleveland Guardians. To acquire Lindor, a similarly aged star shortstop with one year of control coming off a down year like the Jays’ infielder, the New York Mets gave up utility man Amed Rosario who’s been a journeyman since his time in Cleveland and future all-star second baseman Andres Gimenez who is a core piece on the once again competitive Guardians team.

Even though Lindor was better at the time than Bichette, he would have had less control as he was dealt in the offseason rather than the deadline, as well, Bichette would cost less to extend so he would garner more interest from small market teams. Obviously, it’s tough to guarantee getting a guy like Gimenez but when you’re dealing with someone as valuable as Bo, it’s a pretty solid chance you’ll end up with at least one good young big leaguer. 

Vladimir Guerrero Jr:

Jun 15, 2024; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays first base Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (27) hits a single against the Cleveland Guardians during the fifth inning at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

As for Guerrero, the 25-year-old first baseman lacks the consistency that has been a hallmark for Bichette, possessing the raw talent to be a superstar slugger but only producing at that level in his MVP runner-up 2021 season. Since then his production has declined each year before bouncing back slightly in 2024. What his trade value would be is much harder to determine due to his inconsistency but any package for Guerrero would certainly include multiple top prospects if he’s dealt by the deadline.

While it’s tough to know his value, the Jays do have some experience with very good players with a season and a half of control remaining as that was the situation when they acquired starting pitcher Jose Berrios in 2021. When Toronto got fleeced for him they gave up their second and fourth-best prospects, infielder Austin Martin who was a top 30 prospect in baseball at the time, and Simeon Woods-Richardson who is now a key part of the Minnesota Twins rotation. If the Jays can learn from that deal and try to get something of similar value back for Guerrero it would go a long way to allowing this Jays team to be competitive in a post-Vladdy world. 

While it’s tough on any market to watch fan-favorite stars leave without winning anything, it is important for the future of the organization that these two stars are traded as soon as their value reaches their peak. It is now clear that they will not win the World Series with either of them before they hit free agency after 2025 so the time is now to get as much as you can for them, inject some youth into this team, and try to remain young and competitive without going through another rebuild. 

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