Blue Jays trade rumors should remind Red Sox fans it could always be worse

Chicago White Sox v Toronto Blue Jays
Chicago White Sox v Toronto Blue Jays / Cole Burston/GettyImages
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The past few seasons haven't gone the Boston Red Sox's way for a fair few reasons, but at least they're not the Toronto Blue Jays.

Toronto entered the past three seasons with high expectations but has yet to meet them. The Jays were one of the three American League East clubs to make the playoffs last season, but each of them walked away without a win.

This year, Toronto hoped to contend for Shohei Ohtani but eventually lost out to the Dodgers. The Blue Jays carry a club-record payroll this season, but the team's less-than-stellar production could lead them to sell off some of their expensive players.

MLB insider Mark Feinsand reported that an anonymous AL executive said the Jays might shop their two biggest stars, Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr., this summer. Toronto could secure great returns for both players, as they don't become free agents until after the 2025 season.

Bichette has started unusually slow offensively this season. The shortstop is slashing .243/.297/.356 with a .653 OPS, which is low for his standard. He's fanned more than usual in the early going of the 2024 slate, and he doesn't walk often.

Blue Jays may shop their two biggest stars, Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr., at the trade deadline

Guerrero has been consistent at the plate, but he hasn't slugged like the Jays know he can so far. He's batting .282/.375/.404 with a .779 OPS. Guerrero walks considerably more than Bichette and his eye has served him well this season to collect 27 walks to 41 strikeouts.

Guerrero's defense at first base hasn't been great, though, as he's collected a less-than-ideal negative three outs above average to land him in the 14th percentile in defense in MLB. Bichette has fared better and logged league-average defense at shortstop.

Overall, Toronto's offense has been poor. The Jays rank 26th in MLB in runs, tied with the Mariners with 191 on the season. If they're going to shop their two biggest stars, they should hunt for some powerful and consistent bats to bring their run rate up a notch — three of their AL East rivals, the Yankees, Orioles and Red Sox, rank in the top half of the league in runs.

The AL East is arguably the most competitive division in baseball, and Toronto is going to have to make some changes to compete in the postseason, but the middle of the division is tight. Toronto sits in last place at the time of publication, but it's just three games below .500. If the Blue Jays wanted to sell just one of their two stars, they could still collect a decent return to build around the other player.

Fans of AL East teams have gotten used to Toronto being overhyped, and Red Sox fans have felt it this year, in particular. Months of offseason projections placed Boston in the basement of the AL East for the fourth time in five years — and while they still have until September to find their way there — the Jays have made it harder to reach the bottom.

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