Toronto Blue Jays Trade Rumors: Pitching Update


Toronto Blue Jays Trade Rumors: Pitching Update

With the non-waiver trade deadline fast approaching, time is rapidly running out for the Toronto Blue Jays. The question is, who – if anyone -are they most likely to bring in before 4:00 pm ET on July 31st?

The biggest concern remains getting some help for the pitching staff, in the shape of a starter and/or bullpen help (more specifically, a closer). As such, here’s an update on some of the pitchers who have been linked with a move to Toronto:

Jonathan Papelbon

Of all the players on the Blue Jays’ radar, Jonathan Papelbon appears to be getting the most traction. As reported by Todd Zolecki of, they are one of the three teams most seriously pursuing the 34-year old.

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The six-time All-Star has been sensational for the lowly Phillies this season, with 17 saves in 17 opportunities. He also has an ERA of 1.59, which at this rate, would be the second-best of his 11 year professional career.

Papelbon has stated he will not approve any deal to leave Philadelphia to be a setup man. This would not be an issue for the Blue Jays, who desperately need a reliable closer.

One thing that helps Alex Anthopoulos, is that the former Boston Red Sox draft pick has already called Toronto a good fit. However, as per Zolecki’s report, the Blue Jays face fierce competition from the Chicago Cubs and Washington Nationals.

Cole Hamels

Cole Hamels had a no-hitter against the Chicago Cubs on Saturday. However, as great as this is, it doesn’t help the Blue Jays one little bit.

When previously asked directly about the Blue Jays, the 31-year old said: “Yes. I’ve always been open-minded. I will think about everything.”

However, it has since transpired that Hamels stated privately he has absolutely no interest in moving to Toronto. If any Blue Jays fans are still harboring hopes about the San Diego. California native, it’s best if you just let it go.

Johnny Cueto

The Blue Jays would love to bring in Johnny Cueto, but who wouldn’t? The 29-year old has been in fine form this season for the Cincinnati Reds, despite their struggles as a team.

Jun 22, 2014; Cincinnati, OH, USA; Cincinnati Reds starting pitcher Johnny Cueto (47) pitches during the first inning against the Toronto Blue Jays at Great American Ball Park. Mandatory Credit: Frank Victores-USA TODAY Sports

While a 6-6 record in 18 starts may not sound that impressive, it has to be seen in the context of the Reds season, which currently finds them well off the pace for a wild card berth. Cueto has posted a 2.79 ERA, and is on course for a career-best WHIP of 0.954.

Of course, there is the issue of the 2014 All-Stars’ contract situation, with his being set to become a free agent after the season. Is he really worth giving up a top prospect for, if he’s just going to walk away once this year is over?

Interestingly, Cueto was on the verge of joining the Kansas City Royals on Saturday, before the trade fell through, due to one of the players the Reds would acquire not checking out medically. Cueto is going to be moved before the trade deadline, but if I’m a betting man, he’s not coming to Toronto.

David Price

David Price would certainly provide a boost to the Blue Jays starting rotation. However, there’s just one problem – the Detroit Tigers are unsure as to whether or not they want to move him.

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This is understandably, given how valuable the 29-year old is to the Tigers, combined with the fact they have to decide whether or not they’re still in contention for the postseason. Assuming they do sell, the Blue Jays will face stiff competition from the Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers.

Price is enjoying an excellent season, but similar to Cueto, he is set to become a free agent at the conclusion of the season. Given what it would likely cost to acquire him, the Blue Jays  would want assurances that he would sign a new contract.

James Shields

We’ve spoken at length previously about James Shields, and what he could provide for the Blue Jays. With July 31st nearly here, the San Diego Padres are still looking to move him.

While there is a perception that Shields is overrated, he is enjoying a fine season, with a 8-3 record in 21 starts. To date, he has recorded a 3.77 ERA and is posting a career-high strikeout rate of 10.2 per nine innings.

One drawback could potentially be the 33-year old’s contract, with him set to make $21 million in each of the next three seasons. However, with the Padres so desperate to move Shields, they may be willing to eat some of his deal, which could work to Toronto’s advantage.

Next: Will the Blue Jays trade Daniel Norris?