Blue Jays first baseman Justin Smoak and shortstop Freddy Galvis looked like prime trade candidates going into Wednesday’s deadline, but it doesn’t appear either player generated much interest. The markets for Smoak and Galvis were just about nonexistent on deadline day, Scott Mitchell of TSN reports. Both players may have wound up on the move this month had the August waiver deadline stuck around, as Mitchell notes, but that’s no longer a factor.
Smoak was reportedly drawing a fair amount of interest as of Tuesday, when the Indians and Rays were said to be among the teams in on him. But things went unfavorably from there for rebuilding Toronto, which first saw the Indians augment their offense by acquiring outfielders Yasiel Puig and Franmil Reyes late Tuesday. The Rays then added first baseman Jesus Aguilar in a trade with the Brewers early Wednesday. Aguilar’s far cheaper and controllable for longer than Smoak – a pending free agent on an $8MM salary.
There has been speculation about the Blue Jays extending Smoak, which could be more realistic now that they won’t be able to trade the soon-to-be 33-year-old. A Blue Jay since 2015, the switch-hitting Smoak broke out with the club from 2017-18, but his bottom-line production has declined this season. Smoak has slashed .213/.356/.420 (110 wRC+) with 18 home runs in 368 plate appearances.
Smoak’s numbers aren’t going to put him in position to break the bank on his next contract, especially as an aging first baseman, though he has likely deserved better this year. Smoak has drawn almost as many walks (61) as strikeouts (72), while his .219 batting average on balls in play is 48 points below his career mark (.267), and he boasts an excellent .389 expected weighted on-base average. That figure vastly outdoes Smoak’s real wOBA (.343) and ranks among the best in baseball.
Galvis, set to turn 30 in November, joined the Blue Jays on the open market last winter for a guaranteed $5MM. His pact includes a $5.5MM club option for 2020, but the Jays might reject it in favor of a $1MM buyout now that high-end middle infield prospects Bo Bichette and Cavan Biggio have come up to the majors.
With Bichette and Biggio in the mix, Galvis’ time as a regular in Toronto appears to be over. However, to Galvis’ credit, the switch-hitter has continued his impressive run of durability this season and chipped in a career-best .264/.299/.436 line (91 wRC+) with 16 HRs over 435 trips to the plate. That production wasn’t enough to excite a contender, though, and it didn’t help Toronto’s cause that there wasn’t a great deal of demand for middle infielders approaching the deadline.