Before you scoff at the idea of the Royals being able to trade Jon Jay for anything, hear me out.
First off, his $3 million contract is going to be very appealing to teams come July. When looking at players, if a team is already at their salary threshold, which typically is the case, spending big money on an incoming player or rental is not ideal. Therefore, the idea that half the salary will be gone by July means Jay would be worth just about $1.5 million. That isn’t half bad.
Secondly, he is a solid offensive player. No, he is not going to mash the ball. In fact, he has never been much of a power hitter. Over his career, he has just 33 home runs and over the last three years, he has just 47 doubles. However, he does get on base. This year, he has been hitting .280/.350/.315 and a 665 OPS. Since 2014 though, Jay has four years of hitting .280 or higher.
- 2014 – .303
- 2015 – .210
- 2016 – .291
- 2017 – .296
- 2018 – .280
To put it all together, Jay has been hitting .283 over the last five years and 486 games.
Many teams would be interested in a player who hits like this. So are we just going to assume that a team that is contending doesn’t want an everyday player who is hitting like this simply because they don’t hit for power?
Defensively, Jay has been better than an average defender. His UZR (a defensive grade) comes in at a 2.5 on the year and an average defender scores a 2 in relation to the UZR scale. And opposite to what we said about Moustakas, Jay can play all three outfield positions. Believe it or not, that does help with his trade value. His abilities to play all three positions open the possibility of any team needing any type of outfielder more appealing.
I believe Jay has some trade value. How much has yet to be determined. So who could be interested?
Any team that needs an outfielder that is contending would want Jay. That could be the Yankees (again) or the Washington Nationals.
New York Yankees
Gardner is playing at a very low level right now. He is currently hitting .209/.339/.284 on the year. If the Yankees want to keep the lineup similar, leaving Stanton as the teams DH, swapping Gardner for Jay could benefit the team. Jay can play all spots in the outfield and with his ability to get on base could benefit the Yankees. Especially with all the firepower they have.
This one is kind of an interesting situation. Adam Eaton has recently gone down with an injury that required surgery, resulting in him being put on the 60-day DL. Adding Jay provides the Nationals to continue with the lineup they have, as well as help keep them contending. With Bryce Harper most likely leaving after this year, this might be the last chance with him to make a playoff push.
Those two teams that come to mind right now, but it could change depending on their farm system.