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What trades for Guerrero, Bichette could look like

Julian Catalfo / theScore

The Toronto Blue Jays have been among MLB's biggest disappointments early in 2024. They're in last place in the AL East and have yet to have the success many expected with a talented core. The organization is without a postseason victory since 2016, and with 65% of its 26-man roster set to hit free agency after next season, it's approaching some major decisions.

The club's biggest question marks surround the futures of homegrown players Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette. Both are in their sixth campaign and are under team control through next season. The front office needs to determine whether it can sign either player to an extension or must begin planning for a future without them.'s Mark Feinsand recently spoke with an executive who said the Blue Jays have "talked to teams" about potentially trading one or both. The executive hinted that no deals are imminent and described the asking prices as understandably "ridiculous."

With the calendar yet to flip to June, it seems a bit premature for the Blue Jays to consider trading either player, but when also considering Toronto's poor start that's left them with 20.2% playoff odds, according to FanGraphs, the front office needs to weigh all options.

Here's a look at some potential trades the Blue Jays could pursue based on recent deals involving comparable players. Toronto could retool the roster and build around other current players or go full rebuild. We'll preface this by saying it's most likely a trade for either player comes in the offseason and the reality is, it's hard for most teams trading away stars to come out winners, but it's also better to get something in return rather than let high-value players walk for nothing.

Trading Bichette

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The Lindor deal would be one of the closest comparisons for any potential Bichette trade. The Guardians decided to move Lindor as he entered his final season of arbitration before hitting free agency following the 2021 campaign. Lindor was a better defensive option at shortstop than Bichette but posted a 105 wRC+ and 118 wRC+ in the two seasons before the trade. Although Bichette is off to a slow start in 2024, he registered a 125 wRC+ last season and 130 wRC+ in 2022.

The Dodgers are always the obvious choice to land any star player, but that doesn't mean they don't make sense here. Mookie Betts has handled the move to shortstop well but recently said he wasn't happy with some of the plays he was making mistakes on. Adding Bichette would allow Betts to slide back over to second base.

Lux, the Dodgers' No. 1 prospect in 2020, could use a fresh start. He posted a respectable 114 wRC+ with 33 extra-base hits in 129 games in 2022 but tore his ACL in spring training before the 2023 season and looks rusty so far in 2024. He's still only 26 and owns the tools to figure things out and become a quality major leaguer.

Outman was recently sent down to Triple-A after slumping to a .147 batting average. However, the 27-year-old is only one year removed from finishing as a finalist for NL Rookie of the Year after hitting 23 home runs with a .790 OPS in 151 games. Outman's an excellent defender, finishing in the 94th percentile in outs above average last season. He could settle into a corner outfield spot for the Blue Jays.

Hurt made his MLB debut last season. The 25-year-old has a fastball that can touch 99 mph and also features a slider and a changeup. The Blue Jays need more impact pitching prospects, and Hurt would certainly tick that box.

These three players would immediately slot into the Blue Jays' 26-man roster, giving them multiple controllable years at a relatively low cost.

The Dodgers and Nationals got together for a blockbuster deal at the 2021 trade deadline that sent two stalwarts from Washington's 2019 World Series team to Los Angeles. The Nationals got a pair of potential building blocks in Gray and Ruiz. This was general manager Mike Rizzo's first big move that signaled an eye on the future.

Making a trade with former Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos would be a bitter pill to swallow for fans. If the Blue Jays are looking to go into a full-scale rebuild, the Braves have a need at shortstop and several intriguing prospects that could satisfy what Toronto might be looking for. Bichette's a much better offensive option than Braves shortstop Orlando Arcia and would provide a huge boost to a team that's firmly in a competitive window. Kikuchi is an impending free agent but would provide the Braves with another option in the rotation.

Smith-Shawver is 21 years old and didn't look overmatched when he made his MLB debut last season, posting a 4.26 ERA and a .183 opponents' batting average in six appearances. He has front-of-the-rotation potential with four pitches, including a slider that had a 35.1% whiff rate against MLB hitters in 2023.

Waldrep is another top-100 prospect, alongside Smith-Shawver. The 22-year-old's been impressive at Double-A this season, striking out nearly one batter per inning with an ERA under three. He features a fastball that can touch 99 mph with a wipeout splitter and a slider as well. That group would line up with the next wave of potential Blue Jays prospects to come through the system.

Trading Guerrero

Mark Blinch / Getty Images Sport / Getty

Goldschmidt was 31 years old - six years older than Guerrero - and had one season remaining of team control at $14 million, a salary considerably less than Guerrero's 2024 $19.9-million salary. Goldschmidt was coming off back-to-back seasons in which he won a Silver Slugger and finished top-six in NL MVP voting. Though it didn't work out, the D-Backs acquired two players with MLB experience.

Guerrero's value is hard to get a handle on. Outside of a transcendent 2021 season in which he finished runner-up in AL MVP voting after hitting 48 home runs with a 166 wRC+, Guerrero's been good but not great. His fWAR is consistently on the lower side as a result of playing first base and not putting up explosive numbers.

The defending World Series champions wouldn't be on the shortlist for many trying to project potential Guerrero suitors. However, adding him to the trio of Marcus Semien, Corey Seager, and Adolis García should be a tempting proposition. Yimi García would also be a big boost to a Rangers bullpen that ranks last in the league in ERA this season.

If the Blue Jays are looking to remain competitive in a post-Guerrero world, Lowe would help. The 28-year-old's been an above-average offensive player his entire career and does a good job getting on base (.356 career OBP). Lowe also has one additional year of club control than Guerrero and isn't scheduled to hit free agency until the conclusion of the 2027 season.

Leiter would be the prized chip in the deal. The right-hander was the second overall pick in the 2021 draft and had a decorated collegiate career at Vanderbilt. Leiter owns explosive stuff, striking out more than one batter per inning pitched in each of his stops in the minors. Although he's struggled in his first three MLB starts, Leiter possesses electric stuff and a high ceiling.

Foscue is the Rangers' No. 3-ranked prospect and can play both second and third base. The 25-year-old hit 18 home runs and stole 14 bases in 122 games at Triple-A last season and profiles as a good hitter that sprays the ball to all parts of the field.

The Braves acquired Olson with two years of control to replace Freddie Freeman. Olson was entering his age-28 season and projected to earn $12 million in arbitration. The acquisition cost on paper was steep, with Atlanta surrendering its top two prospects in Langeliers and Pache, while Cusick was a first-round pick.

The Astros are desperately trying to keep their window open. The signing of José Abreu has failed spectacularly thus far, leaving a hole at first base. Guerrero would likely excel at flipping baseballs out to left field into the Crawford Boxes. Trading three top prospects for a first baseman may seem shortsighted for the Astros, but it won't matter if Guerrero helps them win another World Series. Additionally, former Astros GM James Click works in Toronto's front office and likely knows Houston's system as well as anyone.

Arrighetti made his MLB debut this season but has struggled so far. The right-hander has made strides with his fastball over the past few years and also features plus offerings with his curveball and slider. He could settle in as a No. 3 in a rotation in the future.

Loperfido offers intriguing power, hitting 13 home runs in 25 games at Triple-A before being promoted to the Astros. The 25-year-old has struck out more than 30% of the time in his Triple-A career, and that issue has followed him to the big leagues. There's downside associated with a player with so much swing and miss, but Loperfido also has plus speed, stealing 59 bases across the 2022 and 2023 campaigns. He's an interesting player to project moving forward.

Melton is the Astros' only top-100 prospect and would be the key piece for the Blue Jays. The 2022 second-rounder projects as a center fielder in the majors with power.

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