Skip to main content

With four days remaining before a potential work stoppage and MLB transaction freeze, the Blue Jays still have plenty of needs to address this winter. Toronto's management has openly identified needs in the infield and in the rotation, likely to add multiple players at each hole.

Trade is becoming an increasingly likely tool for the Blue Jays to flash this winter and could help them land the high-ceiling talent they'll need to replace potential Robbie Ray and Marcus Semien departures. MLB.com crafted one potential Toronto transaction as part of a Black Friday blockbuster article, so I'm taking a look at the potential trade fit for Arizona Diamondbacks infielder Ketel Marte:

A Blue Jays, Diamondbacks Blockbuster from MLB.com:

Blue Jays get: 2B/CF Ketel Marte 
Guardians get: C Alejandro Kirk
Diamondbacks get: IF Cavan Biggio, RHP Gunnar Hoglund, RHP Daniel Espino (Guardians’ No. 5 prospect), OF Josh Palacios

We can evaluate this trade, proposed by MLB.com's Anthony Castrovince, from a Blue Jays perspective by taking out the Guardians' third of the deal. For Toronto, this deal would involve sending MLB players Kirk and Biggio, and prospects Hoglund and Palacios. Coming back would be the rare star on a sinking Diamondbacks ship last season. Marte posted a .909 OPS in 2021 and provides plus defense in the outfield and at second base. He remains under team control through 2024 making no more than $12 million per year.

The real sticking point I could see with this offer is the inclusion of Toronto's 2021 first-round pick, Hoglund. While recently drafted players can now be traded following the World Series (since 2015), flipping top picks months after the draft remains rare. The Jays saw Hoglund, who is currently rehabbing in Dunedin, as a top-10 talent in the 2021 Draft and are unlikely to deal him before he even pitches an inning in their minor league system. Even the recently traded Austin Martin at least played 56 games for Toronto before he was dealt for José Berríos.

Recommended Articles

Past Hoglund, the valuations in the trade make sense: a top organization prospect (Hoglund), an established big-leaguer with upside (Biggio), someone who falls in between those categories (Kirk), and a young outfield replacement (Palacios). This is a general trade package the Jays could shop around for a few of the biggest names on the trade market, including Jose Ramirez and Matt Chapman.

Another Marte Trade Offer:

So, taking into account concerns with the above proposal, I took a shot at crafting one of my own. As with all trades, the market dictates the cost and internal valuations dictate the trade packages, but the following offer cuts out the third party and could better suit the needs of the Jays and Diamondbacks if both are looking to make a splash this winter:

Blue Jays get: Ketel Marte
Diamondbacks get: INF Cavan Biggio, INF Jordan Groshans, RHP Adam Kloffenstein, OF Josh Palacios

In place of Hoglund and Kirk, the Jays would send No. 3 prospect Jordan Groshans and No. 7 Adam Kloffenstein. With both Daulton Varsho and Carson Kelly behind the plate, the DBacks don't really have a need for Kirk (though maybe with a universal DH?). Replacing that value with Groshans and Kloffenstein could work for both sides, although the latter struggled with control in 23 starts for A+ Vancouver. 

Pulling off a deal for Marte without moving Kirk could even leave the Jays open to drawing from their catching depth for another trade—perhaps for one of those Miami starters.

Arizona has just one infield prospect in their MLB.com top 10, and no natural third basemen before No. 10 prospect A.J. Vukovich, presenting a strong case for top-100 prospects Jordan Groshans to headline a deal. If Gabriel Moreno, Hoglund, and Orelvis Martinez are off the table, Groshans seems a natural fit to front any trade package for a controllable infielder. Marte would fill just one of Toronto's needs, but his affordability and term would allow the Jays fill the third base hole in free agency, making an upper-minors infielder like Groshans potentially expendable.

H/T MLB.com