The Toronto Blue Jays have been a thorn in the New York Yankees‘ side for the last two seasons as their one-of-a-kind rebuild supplemented by big trades and notable free agent signings have made the rivals north of the border a legitimate contender.
Ever wonder why Yankees fans have been up in arms about the lack of additions since the Gerrit Cole signing? Or why they’re yelling about the importance of getting the upcoming offseason moves right? It’s because, despite the fact many thought they’d be fading away or taking a little bit longer to reach “contender” status, the Blue Jays, Rays and Red Sox have swept every negative assumption under the rug.
The Rays were division champs once again even though they got worse. The Red Sox were the same as the Yankees and then made a run to the ALCS … even though they got worse, too. The Blue Jays missed the playoffs by one game and would’ve been there had Aaron Judge and Giancarlo Stanton not clobbered Robbie Ray at the end of the year. And they went from 67 wins to 91 wins in TWO years.
With all those teams making moves before the lockout and possessing plans post-lockout, the Yankees are, on paper, lagging behind, with Joely Rodriguez representing their only move in free agency or via trade prior to Dec. 2.
So, please forgive some fans, after seeing the Jays sign Kevin Gausman to supplement the loss of Robbie Ray (while the Yankees did nothing), for freaking out when Toronto is being loosely connected to Cleveland Guardians MVP Jose Ramirez.
After the Jays reportedly tried to trade for Ramirez back in July, MLB insider Jim Bowden, in his recent column for The Athletic (subscription required), thinks that should be Toronto’s first move when the lockout ends.
The Yankees will be in trouble if the Blue Jays trade for Jose Ramirez.
Yankees fans breathed a sigh of relief when the Jays lost Ray (the AL Cy Young winner) and Marcus Semien, who finished third in the AL MVP voting for the second time in two years, to free agency. But if they manage to replace those two with Gausman and Ramirez, they might be in better shape than they were in 2021.
Gausman had very similar numbers to Ray and finished sixth in the NL Cy Young voting. Ramirez is a perennial MVP candidate and has missed only a handful of games since the start of 2016 (he’s also a switch-hitter, which helps diversify Toronto’s heavy right-handed lineup).
Now, let’s get into the cost for Ramirez. The only “good” news here is that it’s going to take a lot to acquire Ramirez, and the Jays surrendered two top-10 prospects last year for Jose Berrios. The bad news? Their farm system was just ranked in the top five by The Athletic’s Keith Law, so they have more than enough talent to make a deal happen and keep their pipeline respectable (even though Baseball America has them at No. 19).
We’re not going to sit here and pretend like we know the Blue Jays’ system, but most of their top-20 prospects are 21 and younger, meaning many won’t be hitting the bigs in the immediate future. They can afford to part with talent like that since they’re looking at the next five years with this current core of Vladimir Guerrero Jr, Bo Bichette, George Springer, Cavan Biggio, Berrios and Gausman running the show, with others like Lourdes Guerriel Jr, Teoscar Hernandez, Hyun-Jin Ryu and Randal Grichuk around for at least the next two seasons.
Adding Ramirez as a full-time third baseman, to a lineup where he’s protected by some of the game’s best sluggers, immediately makes the Jays legitimate World Series contenders regardless of their starting pitching. If Toronto managed to make the Yankees’ life miserable for most of last year without Springer, what’s it going to be like with Springer and Ramirez?
Another bit of “good news” is that we’ve yet to see any inclination from the Guardians to trade Ramirez, and actually voiced they weren’t willing to move him after Francisco Lindor was dealt to the New York Mets last year.
Here’s the order of what we’d prefer:
- Guardians trade Ramirez to Yankees
- Guardians keep Ramirez
- Guardians sign Ramirez to extension
- Guardians defend the galaxy against an alien invasion
- Supply chain issues persist
- Anything else
- Anything else
- Guardians trade Ramirez to Dodgers
- Guardians trade Ramirez to Blue Jays
- Guardians trade Ramirez to Red Sox