When it comes to this summer’s trade deadline, the Toronto Blue Jays prefer a good old fashioned trade between a traditional buyer and a traditional seller.
The Blue Jays need help in their starting rotation. They would like to avoid a commitment to whichever pitcher they add beyond this season and they would like to give up prospects who are far away from the big leagues to get him. But will they limit their options too much with this preference? Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports wonders if they will and if they need to cast a wider net:
To this point, Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos has indicated that he would prefer to acquire a “rental,” a pitcher whom the team would control — and pay — only for the rest of the season. But if the Jays remain in contention, Anthopoulos would be foolish to limit himself to the rental market, which probably will not be all that fertile, anyway.
Rosenthal then notes that other than Jason Hammel, the options for a rental are limited. That does depend, however, on what the Cleveland Indians decide to do with Justin Masterson and what the Kansas City Royals decide to do with James Shields.
Given the risk of losing either of those guys this off-season, might the Indians or Royals trade them even if they are not true “sellers”? That could create an interesting situation, though the Blue Jays would have to change their stance on trading players that are close to the big leagues to make a deal work if that opportunity emerged.
Rosenthal suggests that the Blue Jays should also be willing to make the blockbuster trade for Jeff Samardzija or David Price if they are still contenders at this time next month. There are actual obstacles other than philosophical ones in those cases, however, as the Blue Jays would struggle to put together a strong enough package to acquire either guy.
It’s a fluid situation, but if I were running the Blue Jays, I would run to try and get Hammel away from the Cubs before somebody else does. The Cubs are committed to rebuilding and Hammel is on a one-year “show me” deal. If the Jays are serious about a rental, they should get the Cubs on the phone sooner than later.