The Toronto Blue Jays’ 2017 campaign has been a disappointment for a club that has reached the American League Championship Series two years in a row. With the Jays having spent the entire season in the basement of the American League East, they would be smart to sell at the upcoming July 31st non-waiver trade deadline. High profile players such as Josh Donaldson and Marcus Stroman could end up getting dealt in the near future, but it probably wouldn’t happen until the offseason at the earliest. There’s a good chance however that Francisco Liriano and Marco Estrada will be shipped out of Toronto this week. General Manager Ross Atkins would be wise to let them go considering both players will be free agents after this season.
Expect Marco Estrada or Francisco Liriano to be Dealt This Weekend
Was Wednesday Estrada’s last start for the Jays?
Prior to Estrada’s start against the Oakland Athletics in Toronto on Wednesday, the 34-year-old had struggled this season after proving to be a reliable starter for the Jays and earning an All-Star nod last season. Estrada had walked 26 batters in 28 innings over his last six starts, while also giving up 26 earned runs, however he bounced back to a certain extent on Wednesday, giving up three hits and two earned runs through five innings against the Athletics. The two earned runs came off the bat of Marcus Semien when he hit a two-run home run in the top of the fifth. Although he’s struggled this year, Estrada still has the potential to be an important addition for a postseason-bound club. He has a 2.64 ERA and 43 strikeouts in 47.2 innings in his postseason career.
Liriano could be dealt as well
After being traded to the Blue Jays last season in the surprising deal that sent starter Drew Hutchison to the Pittsburgh Pirates, Liriano regained his form after struggling with the Pirates. He pitched extremely well for the Jays over the remainder of the year, striking out 52 batters in 49.1 innings while maintaining a 2.92 ERA.
This season has been different however, with Liriano carrying a 5.99 ERA and a WHIP of 1.670. Liriano pitched well against the Athletics on Monday after struggling in his previous start against the Red Sox, giving up two hits, two walks, and two earned runs through five innings while earning a win.
Liriano and the Jays will be hoping to see more of that consistency on Saturday at the Rogers Centre when the best player in baseball, Mike Trout, comes to town. Trout has a .375 batting average in 16 at bats against Liriano. As of Thursday night, Trout has a .333 batting average and an OPS of 1.166 to go along with 19 homers and 42 RBI.
Liriano will take the mound against Venezuelan Yusemeiro Petit, who will be making his first start for the Angels. Petit has struck out 59 batters in 56.2 innings pitched this season, and carries a 2.70 ERA, so the 32-year-old righty could present a challenge for the Jays. Both clubs sit a couple of games below .500 and will be hoping to showcase some of their talent ahead of Monday’s non-waiver trade deadline.