Blue Jays looking for upgrades at the MLB Trade Deadline.

(Courtesy of Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press)

(Courtesy of Frank Gunn/The Canadian Press)

TORONTO- The Mid-summer Classic may be over, but now the MLB is going to be busier than ever as the Aug 1st Non-Waiver Trade Deadline is fast approaching. General Managers in MLB are either going to be buying to fill out their needs to improve their respective teams or sellers to build up their farm system, trying to rebuild and develop their younger players.

The Toronto Blue Jays are in very well position for a playoff spot as they enter the All-Star break with a record of 51-40, two games behind the division-leading Baltimore Orioles and tied with the Boston Red Sox.

Yes, the Blue Jays are playing very well as of late, but there are some areas that President Mark Shapiro and GM Ross Atkins need to address prior to the trade deadline.

Starting Rotation

Now everyone is asking, “Why would the Blue Jays need starting pitching if they are leading the A.L. with a 3.64 ERA and 569.1 innings pitched?” Well first of all, Marco Estrada is pitching his lights our with a 2.93 ERA, however he is currently on a 15-day disabled with a back injury. And we all know that back injuries can flare up here and there. Second of all, Aaron Sanchez is pitching like Roy Halladay, but there are so much discussion with his innings limit and Manager John Gibbons did admit that Sanchez could move back to the bullpen to fill the set-up role for their depleted bullpen. That leaves Marcus Stroman, R.A. Dickey and J.A. Happ as locks in their rotation. Good news is that Estrada is expected to return once they Jays return to the north of the border to face off against the Seattle Mariners on July 22. However if Sanchez does end up back to the bullpen and if the Blue Jays are not convince that Drew Hutchinson can step up, then they need address the starting rotation for not only this season but for many years to come. Keep in mind too that R.A. Dickey is going to be a free agent after this season. Given his age, the Blue Jays may want to look for another starter with multiple years of control.

Some names available for the Blue Jays are:

Sonny Gray, RHP, Oakland Athletics

Julio Teahran, RHP Atlanta Braves

Drew Pomeranz, LHP, San Diego Padres

Ervin Sanatana, Minnesota Twins

Jake Odorizzi, RHP, Tampa Bay Rays

Tyson Ross, RHP, San Diego Padres

Jon Niese, LHP, Pittsburgh Pirates

Hector Santiago, LHP, L.A. Angels of Anaheim

Dan Straily, LHP, Cincinnati Reds

Rich Hill, LHP, Oakland Atletics

Jeremy Hellickson, RHP, Philadelphia Phillies

Andrew Cashner, RHP, San Diego Padres

Jorge De La Rosa, LHP, Colorado Rockies

Bullpen

The Blue Jays’ bullpen has been awful all season long. Blowing up leads, lost a lot of close ball game and mixing guys here and there. It’s just a nightmare for Gibbons to manage. Out of all those guys in the pen, Roberto Osuna has been their most consistent pitcher and he’s only 20 years old. But they need the other guys to step up and do their roles. Now the good news is that Brett Cecil is back from his injury and that should help as Cecil is their only reliable lefty in the pen. The bad news is that Drew Stroen, who the Jays gave up Ben Revere for, has been a huge disappointment. And Jason Grilli, Jesse Chavez and Joe Biagini have been alright but not spectacular. The bullpen is a huge need that they need to address. Not saying that they need to go after a Andrew Miller or Aroldis Chapman type of pitchers. But maybe they need to go after a LaTroy Hawkins or Mark Lowe type of arms.

Names that could help in the bullpen:

Andrew Miller, LHP, New York Yankees (highly unlikely)

Arodys Vizcaino, RHP, Atlanta Braves

Tyler Clippard, RHP, Arizona Diamondbacks

Huston Street, RHP, L.A. Angels of Anaheim ($8M)

Jeremy Jeffress, RHP, Milwaukee Brewers

Jake McGee, LHP, Colorado Rockies

Will Smith, LHP, Milwaukee Brewers

Tyler Thornburg, RHP, Milwaukee Brewers

Aroldis Chapman, LHP, New York Yankees (also unlikely)

Marc Rzepczynski, LHP, Oakland Athletics

Outfielder

If only Jose Bautista was 10 years younger, then this conversation wouldn’t happen. But the reality is that once Bautista comes back from a turf toe, it is quite possible that Gibbons may need to shift Bautista at DH or play some 1st base. Plus Bautista and Michael Saunders are both free agents at the end of the season. It is likely that they may need to add some help in the long haul with Kevin Pillar anchoring at centre. Trading away Bautista is not the smart thing to do. Bautista can void any trade thanks to his 10-5 rights. His defense in right field has declined over the past year. They only way they can trade Bautista is to a contender. But why would they do that if Joey Bats can add more thump in the Blue Jays lineup? They still have Dalton Pompey, who could make an impact as a September call up. But if Pompey still need some work, they could look for some help in the outfield at the corners.

Names like:

Carlos Gonzalez, LF, Colorado Rockies

Charlie Blackman, CF, Colorado, Rockies

Jay Bruce, RF, Cincinnati Reds

Yasiel Puig, OF, L.A. Dodgers

Cole Calhoun, RF, L.A. Angels of Anaheim

Peter Bourjos, OF, Philadelphia Philles

Josh Reddick, RF, Oakland Athletics

Mark Trumbo, OF/1B, Baltimore Orioles

Carlos Gomez, OF, Houston Astros

Jon Jay, OF, San Diego Padres

The Blue Jays may have diminished their farm system to acquired Troy Tulowikzki and David Price last season. But they still have some intriguing names that they can use to make some upgrades this season. It is highly unlikely that the Blue Jays would trade their high upside propsects like Anthony Alford and Vladimir Guererro Jr. But they have some interesting arms like Conner Greene, Sean Reid-Foley and Jon Harris that could pop into some eyes for GMs. They also have some position players in Max Pentecost, Rowdy Tellez and Richard Urena that can be use in some package deals as well. Not sure if the Blue Jays will be able to acquire an all star caliber player, but look for them to look for some upgrades for their pitching and outfield.

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