Toronto Blue Jays need to focus on pitching at trade deadline

Kevin Gausman #34 of the San Francisco Giants. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Kevin Gausman #34 of the San Francisco Giants. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

The Toronto Blue Jays are making noise right now. If they want to push for the playoffs, they need to focus on pitching at the trade deadline.

The Toronto Blue Jays might have looked like sellers a week ago. However, after their six-game winning streak, the club is back in the American League playoff picture. General manager Ross Atkins will look to add to the team, particularly in the starting rotation department.

The Blue Jays will be open-minded to any play that they believe will make the team better. Pitching would be an ideal upgrade now that the rotation is without Nate Pearson and Matt Shoemaker. Trent Thornton left Sunday’s game after one inning, who was seen grabbing his elbow in warmups.

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Toronto’s key focus in the off-season was to improve its pitching depth. The off-season moves have made a difference so far. According to FanGraphs, the Blue Jays own the seventh-best ERA in the league (3.86.) Also, they’re ninth in FIP (4.20) and 15th in FIPx (4.47). The Blue Jays could use some extra starting pitching at a time where their bullpen is making more appearances than they should especially in high leverage situations.

Pitchers, including Marco Gonzales, Alex Cobb, and Dylan Bundy, will draw interest from contenders. One arm that sounds intriguing for the Blue Jays is Kevin Gausman. The 29-year old has a 4.65 ERA with 42 strikeouts in five starts with the San Francisco Giants.

The Blue Jays showed serious interest in Gausman over the winter before the right-hander signed with San Francisco. Gausman would be a welcoming addition to the Blue Jays starting rotation, but he’s a free agent at the end of the season so that’s something the front office will keep in mind when deciding what assets to part with.

Toronto figures to target a pitcher with control beyond 2020 instead of a rental. Bundy would be a good fit as the Los Angeles Angels will undoubtedly be sellers at the deadline. If the Blue Jays can acquire Gausman or Bundy, it would improve a rotation that could use some stability.

Lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu has been a substantial presence on the starting staff with a 3.19 ERA in six starts. Other than that, the rotation has been a struggle. Former Washington National Tanner Roark has battled control issues, and Chase Anderson has been limited due to an oblique strain and is still building up his pitch count.

There’s some depth beyond that group over at the alternative training site. But, Sean Reid-Foley, T.J. Zeuch, or Sam Gaviglio aren’t reliable pitchers to help stabilize the rotations. Ryan Borucki will likely continue coming out of the bullpen as a reliever for the foreseeable future.

Given that the Blue Jays are heading in the right direction don’t expect them to part with anything of particular significance for a short-term piece.

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Who do you think the Blue Jays should acquire at the trade deadline? Will it help the rotation fight for a playoff spot in October? Let us know in the comments below.