Disclaimer* It's rare you see a trade between a divisional opponent, yet I'm going to give it a shot anyway.
Last year the Yankees and Blue Jays were kind of on a different spectrum. While Toronto didn't finish last in the American League East they did finish only fourth. The Yankees on the other had finished in first place, 16 games above the Blue Jays.
However the standings could have been misleading. The Blue Jays play in the best division in baseball and finished at 81-81. They play the Yankees, Red Sox, and Rays 18 times a season. That's about 41% of their games. If they were perhaps the American League Central then maybe the could muster a division title or second place at least. Which is not a stretch at all. Every team in the AL East were over .500 against the AL Central.
So what does this have to do with a Blue Jays trade? Well the Jays aren't going to be the favorites in the division anytime soon. They have a lot of good young pieces so I thought that they would like to acquire more. When you're not a team willing to shell out large contracts then you're going to have to build a contender the hard way. Through the farm.
Okay this trade might seem a bit overwhelming considering all the moving pieces. There's a reason for this though. I want to analyze the players the Yankees would acquire first. We all know the Yankees have a void to fill the middle of the rotation. Romero is a great number two pitcher to place behind CC in the rotation. It would create a CC-Romero-Nova-Burnett-Garcia rotation. Which is better than the rotation the Yankees were rolling with a year ago. This team could definitely go to the playoffs led by that staff with the offensive production this offense is capable of.
Ricky Romero inked a 5 year $30 million deal with the Blue Jays last season. He made under a million dollars last season. Toronto will probably never get as valuable for Romero as that ever again. His contract will go up to $5 million this year then will go to $7.5 for the next three, and then a $13.1 club option for 2016. The Yankees would certainly absorb that cash while the Jays may very well like to get rid of it. He's 27, and likely will have 3-4 years of good throwing baseballs left. (I like how I put that. Pitching.) Here are the stats for Romero's career and 2011 season.
Career : 3.60 ERA, 4.04 FIP, 3.82 xFIP, 9.8 WAR, 74.8% LOB%, 1.30 WHIP
2011 : 2.92 ERA, 4.20 FIP, 3.80 xFIP, 2.9 WAR, 79.2% LOB%, 1.14 WHIP
As you can see Romero depicts a top of the rotation starter in the MLB. He can strike you out too. His K/9 is usually around 7.00 each year, and he'll strand runners. What's a great indicator on how a pitcher will play in NY is their GB%. Romero has a 54% GB%. That's very good add in an average strikeout rate and he could have a nice career in New York. Oh did I mention he's a left handed pitcher? Yankee fans love left handed pitchers.
I threw in Encarnancion because the Yankees haven't seemed interested in Chavez. Encarnancion isn't the best defensive 3B, but he can provide a lift off the bench. He had a 1.5 WAR a year ago mostly due to his offense. He's an average hitter at best, but for a bench player he isn't bad. His wOBA was .344 and that's better than adding in Mark Teahen to this deal, who's glove is average and bat is horrible. He had a -.4 WAR last year. I wouldn't totally rely on Nunez the entire year.
The Blue Jays have a couple of young pitchers though. For example Brandon Morrow and Kyle Drabek. They could definitely afford to lose their ace when they're really not in contention for the AL East or Wild Card spot. Instead they gain Hughes and Phelps two guys who can fill the back end of the rotation and a top pitching prospect in ManBan. He could possibly help the Jays in the next 2-3 years. The Jays could build themselves a very respectable pitching rotation by going through with this deal. ManBan, Drabek, and Morrow have tremendous upside and talent. I hate adding in Banuelos to the deal because he's our most prized pitching prospect, but I figured it would take a lot to get Romero. He's locked up until 2015 with a club option for 2016 as I mentioned above. He'll be a very costly piece.
I added in Gary Sanchez because despite having a bad 2011 season he still have some value. J.P. Arencibia was okay for the Blue Jays last year, but catchers are hard to come by. So when you have a guy who's still a teenager being rated so highly you might want to take him into your system. Here's a Chris McKeown's Yankee Prospect post about Gary. This way back in May, but it does show you the upside he has.
I think this is a very even deal. The Yankees get what they want now, and the Blue Jays get pieces for the future. Gaining a number two starter and filling the bench are two of the Yankees top needs. The Blue Jays will gain ManBan who has incredible upside and Sanchez who is young and talented. Time will only tell if he will pan out, but it's a risk the Blue Jays might be willing to take because he's so young. They'll also gain Hughes who has the talent to be a good pitcher. I'd say a mid-rotation pitcher will be the best he'll ever be, but that's not horrible for Toronto.
That's my trade. It's rare that this would happen, but I think if it did there would be little gripes from both teams fans.