Blue Jays could flip part of Shohei Ohtani backup plan at trade deadline

Toronto missed out on the Shohei Ohtani sweepstakes and now they look primed to be sellers.
Toronto Blue Jays v Philadelphia Phillies
Toronto Blue Jays v Philadelphia Phillies / Tim Nwachukwu/GettyImages

One of the quirkiest stories of the offseason was the Shohei Ohtani plane saga. Fans were speculating that a private jet going from California to Toronto contained Ohtani and that him becoming a Blue Jay was inevitable. Instead, it was Shark Tank's Robert Herjavec on that plane, and Ohtani was a Dodger just a few days later.

The Jays pivoted to signing veteran Justin Turner to fill their DH role on a one-year, $13 million deal. While not Ohtani, Turner was coming off a pretty fantastic age 38 season in Boston. In 146 games, Turner hit 23 home runs, drove in 96 and had a 114 OPS+. Despite nearing 40, Turner had shown no signs of slowing down.

Since they decided to not bring back Brandon Belt, bringing Turner in made all the sense in the world. The team believes in their core that starts with Bo Bichette and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and the starting rotation has looked like one of the better ones in baseball with Kevin Gausman and Jose Berrios at the top. They needed one more bat to push it over the top in the playoffs.

That... has not worked out so far.

Justin Turner could be on the move at the deadline

The Blue Jays are off to a bad start and currently sit in last place in the AL East with a 19-23 record, 8.5 games back of first. They aren't hitting for much power as a team, with Daulton Varsho leading them with seven home runs.

Guerrero looks like he is getting back to star levels, but Bichette is struggling mightily, with a 69 OPS+. Turner, on the other hand, has been just as steady as he usually is, with four home runs, a .733 OPS and a 111 OPS+.

With the way the Jays have started and the young core nearing the end of team control and approaching free agency, there has been a lot of speculation they will trade some of their assets. The talk with likely surround Bichette and Guerrero, as it did much of the offseason, but they have other pieces they can move off of as well.

Closer Jordan Romano is a name to watch as we approach the deadline. As is Justin Turner, according to Jon Heyman. It makes a lot of sense for Toronto to move Turner, if they can. He's on a one-year deal and if they can get assets for him, they should.

It's a cheap rental that shouldn't take a ton to acquire for a team that needs another bat for a playoff push. Some teams to watch for this could be the Chicago Cubs, who need a DH type, the Seattle Mariners who could use some offensive help to go with the pitching staff and maybe even a young team like the Kansas City Royals.

Turner could be one of the more valuable rentals at the deadline if the Jays do indeed decide to sell. In a tough division, they are already in a pretty big hole, so they are a team to keep an eye on as we approach the summer.