Could the Mariners really trade for Blue Jays star slugger?

The Mariners contending window is open now, and the roster has many holes to fill. Could they fill a hole with a premier power hitter?
Chicago White Sox v Toronto Blue Jays
Chicago White Sox v Toronto Blue Jays / Vaughn Ridley/GettyImages

In a surprising turn of events, the Toronto Blue Jays are looking like they could be "sellers" instead of contenders this season. Ever since the Mariners stole the hearts right out of the Blue Jays team and fans back in the 2022 playoffs, the Blue Jays have not lived up to their expectations. Maybe they were a bit overrated, but even still, this is too talented of a team to be where they are in the standing this far into the season. Realistically, they are light years behind the New York Yankees and the Baltimore Orioles in their division.

Speculation on the Blue Jays becoming sellers is all over the internet. The Athletic's Ken Rosenthal reported that due to a poor record, and a record $225M payroll, the Jays may be forced to sell. After missing out on signing Shohei Ohtani and trading for Juan Soto, Blue Jays fans may be feeling jaded. After missing out on those two superstars, they may be losing some of their home-grown superstars as well. Just a brutal time to be a Blue Jays fan.

The Mariners should go after Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

Players with contracts that expire after this season include Justin Turner, Kevin Kiermaier, Joey Votto, Yimi Garcia, Danny Jansen, and former Mariners Yusei Kikuchi and Daniel Vogelbach. While there may be some value there, should the Blue Jays decide to tear it down, look for 2026 free agents Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. to be available. If I would have said that at this time last year, I may have been fired. What a difference a year makes.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr. is a natural fit for the Mariners. I mean, he is a natural fit on just about any team. When he was called up to the Major League roster, he was just 20 years old. Not since Bryce Harper has a prospect with this much hype been called up and delivered immediately. He is just 25 years old, and has already been an All-Star three times. He has led the league in home runs in 2021, and has won an All-Star Game MVP. He still has a ton of hype behind him.

The problem with Vladimir is the hype. He may never live up to expectations, and his 2021 season may be the best he ever has. But his production is still good, and he is still one of the top First basemen in the game. He will cost a lot in a trade, even if the Blue Jays trade him. The Mariners have the prospects to acquire just about anybody, so that makes the Mariners a serious front-runner to acquire Guerrero. The Mariners front office is familiar with the Jays front office, as they have made a big trade before. The Mariners were able to acquire Teoscar Hernandez from the Blue Jays before the 2023 season.

If you look at Guerrero's 2024 numbers, they do not blow you away. But if he were already a Mariner, he would be the best hitter on the team. He is slashing .289/.384/.412/.796 with an OPS+ of 131. His slugging percentage is .412, which is a career low. He has hit five home runs, and he is striking out at a 18.3% clip. Having him in the Mariners lineup would absolutely help with the strikeout problem.

While his counting stats seem low, his Baseball Savant page is tantalizing. I was shocked to see just how good his bat has been this year. The only negative stats he has is his sweet spot percentage. But his average exit velocity is in the 98th percentile, and his hard-hit percentage (58.6%) is in the 99th percentile. While he does not use the sweet spot as much, he still hits the ball plenty hard, and it shows with his .280+ batting average.

So, what would a trade for Vladimir Guerrero Jr. look like?

The Mariners have four prospects inside of MLB Pipeline's top 100 list. Cole Young (27), Harry Ford (28), Colt Emerson (50), and Lazaro Montes (82) are all position players, and all are flying up the prospect ranks. I am sure that the Blue Jays would ask for one, if not two of these guys in a potential Vladimir Guerrero Jr. trade. While I would not move multiple of these guys, I think I would be willing to move one of these four players, plus a few more prospects.

Don't just take my word for it. Zachary D. Rymer from Bleacher Report published an article ranking the top landing spots for Vladimir Guerrero Jr., should the Blue Jays trade him. Zachary ranked the Mariners at number one. He proposed that the Mariners send Lazaro Montes and some cash to the Blue Jays for Vladimir Guerrero Jr. While I am not keen on moving Montes, The Mariners contending window is open now.

For too long, baseball fans covet prospects more than they should. Earlier this year, I published an article called "5 former "Can't miss" Mariners prospects that did just that". Remember Dustin Ackley? Danny Hultzen? I sure do. Prospects are just that: prospects. Most prospects do not make significant impacts at the Major League level. That's just the truth. Fans tend to fall in love with potential, instead of an immediate impact.

My proposed trade for Vladimir Guerrero Jr.

Vladimir Guerrero Jr Trade

Yes, this is a haul for the Blue Jays. Colt Emerson is a top-50 prospect, and Emerson Hancock is some polish away from being a solid 3-5 starter for years to come. The Jays get their shortstop or second baseman of the future, a starter now, and a lottery ticket. Yes, they give up a generational talent at first base, but the price on Vlad comes down this offseason with just one year of control left. Should this be the final trade, as a Mariners fan, I would be thrilled.

I added Yimi Garcia to this trade, as he is a free agent after this season, and he has been almost perfect for the Blue Jays this year. In his 19 innings of work, he has allowed just one run on five hits, struck out 24 while walking six. This trade helps shore up an injured and inconsistent bullpen and adds a premier bat to the lineup.

Is this trade enough to pass the Yankees and Orioles for the best team in the American League, no, but it does make you a lot better, and with a rotation built for October, I like the Mariners' chances. The window is open now, and the Mariners need to take this chance. If they don't add a premier bat before the trade deadline, There is a chance we could be talking about the Mariners the same way we are talking about the Blue Jays now. Mariners fans know that reality all too well.

As always, Go Mariners!