Padres Rumors: Will Toronto Blue Jays Come Calling for an OF?


News broke Thursday morning that Toronto Blue Jays starting left fielder Michael Saunders tore the meniscus in his left knee. Saunders hurt his knee stepping on a sprinkler head while shagging fly balls. Ouch.

The Blue Jays are noticeably thin in the outfield position which is shocking, if they were counting on the oft injured Sauders to make it through the year. He missed 84 games last season. They really should have known it was a matter of time.

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Gregor Chisholm of brings us the story of the injury and the need for an outfielder. Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos spoke to the media in which he declared:

"“There are going to be opportunities for the guys in camp right now. Whomever we have in camp, there’s going to be a great opportunity there. I started making some calls (Wednesday) night with respect to seeing who else can be out there. There are some teams out there with some outfield depth. If we do something, it would be toward the end of spring. We’ll see what we have internally here first.”"

With the like of Andy Dirks, Kevin Pillar, Ezequial Carrera, Chris Dickerson and infielder Danny Valencia, the answer is obviously not there internally. The Blue Jays GM is aware of that.

22-year-old Dalton Pompey is to start in center field for the Jays. He is a top prospect who had a brief call-up in September hitting .231 in 39 at bats. He is no sure thing to be able to handle the rigors of playing in the majors every day, himself.

The need for an outfielder is quite evident, and someone like Carlos Quentin, Will Venable or Cameron Maybin would be an instant upgrade for the Blue Jays. Playing in the Rogers Centere would help each players numbers, as it is consistently one of the best hitting ballparks in the major leagues.

However would the Blue Jays want to take on Maybin’s contract? Essentially two more years at $16 million dollars. That’s not a high price, provided he performs and is healthy. Health will be the key to any potential deal involving Maybin.

Will Venable is probably not high on Prellers “to move” list, as he is a left-handed bat, something the Padres are lacking. It would most surely take a lot for Venable to be moved. The need is there for the Toronto Blue Jays in the outfield, would a match be possible?

Never count out anything with AJ Preller, but there just isn’t an easy answer on the trade front. The Blue Jays don’t have any lead-off shortstop type guys sitting on their roster. Wait! They do. I can see it now Cameron Maybin for Jose Reyes…. Okay, Okay… That’s not going to happen.

Seriously, besides Reyes the Blue Jays are pretty bare on middle infielders. The names of Maicer Izturis, Ryan Goins, Jonathon Diaz and Munenori Kawasaki would surely do nothing for Padres management. The Padres have those type of players already on the roster.

The Blue Jays have some very nice young arms in Daniel Norris, Marcus Stroman, Aaron Sanchez and Jeff Hoffman. They however are not cheap and the Padres would surely have to compensate the Blue Jays severely for their services. Just not a possible option.

The Padres main need now, position wise would probably be at shortstop. The Blue Jays have some very nice young shortstop prospects in Franklin Barreto and Richard Urena, but at the age of 19 neither is major league ready.

Barreto is ranked the Jays #5 prospect as he had an impressive .311/.386/.481 hitting line last year in Vancouver, low A ball. Would he be a viable choice for the Padres? He would be a nice addition to the farm system but will not contribute in the majors, till 2017 at the earliest.

Having potentially $16 million dollars (Maybin) off the books for the next two seasons has value in itself. With Justin Upton‘s potential free agency looming, the money could come in very handy. That in itself would make moving Quentin or Maybin even more appealing. Would Toronto be willing to gamble on Maybin? That remains to be seen.

Ultimately teams will come calling about the San Diego Padres depth in the outfield. Injuries and the reality of young prospects hits teams every year right before the season. If Maybin, Venable and Quentin can stay healthy, they will surely draw some interest from other teams. They are proven veteran hitters. Value of players is always the highest in spring as teams are enamoured with what a player could be, rather than what he really is.

How much interest is the question and how long can AJ Preller hold out until he just has to move the excess outfielders. With the dawning of spring training, the San Diego Padres general manager is sure to be on the prowl for more talent for the farm system and the major league team. Teams will surely come calling, the Blue Jays were just the first ones….Stay tuned Padres fans.

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