NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- Blue Jays starter Marcus Stroman reportedly has caught the eye of the Rockies' organization, but a return of outfielder Charlie Blackmon will not be enough to get a deal done.
MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi reported on Wednesday afternoon that Toronto isn't willing to move Stroman in a one-for-one deal for Blackmon. That falls in line with the Blue Jays' previous stance of wanting to keep their current starting five intact for 2017.
Blackmon would be an ideal fit, but there are a number of factors working against this type of deal. Marco Estrada and Francisco Liriano could be eligible for free agency at the end of the 2017 season and there are no obvious candidates in the Minor Leagues who will be ready to step in and fill the void.
Stroman remains a key part of the future, and the fact that he's not eligible for free agency until after the 2020 season only adds to his value within the organization. He is a cornerstone of the future staff alongside right-hander Aaron Sanchez. Of course, a deal can't be entirely ruled out, but Stroman for Blackmon appears to be a non starter.
Toronto's stance this entire offseason has been if it deals anyone from a starting group that includes Stroman, Sanchez, Liriano, Estrada and J.A. Happ, it would just create one hole to fill another, and the Blue Jays seem intent on adding to their starting depth as opposed to taking away from it.
General manager Ross Atkins was asked on Wednesday afternoon about whether his club tried to enter the market for a player such as Adam Eaton, who was traded to the Nationals on Wednesday for a package of prospects, Atkins' answer was pretty telling about Blackmon's situation as well.
"When we've been engaged in those types of trades, Andrew Miller, [Aroldis Chapman], we tried, we're in," Atkins said, in reference to the 2016 non-waiver Trade Deadline. "Teams have asked for players from our Major League team. Our system just isn't good enough yet to land that type of deal. The teams that have more depth, and we'll get there, we'll be there, that's part of our strategy is to get to that point where we could land that caliber of player without taking away from our Major League team."
Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.