Just wondering who everyone would like AA acquire this trade deadline, here is some potential options:
James Shields: He may potentially be available given the rays pitching surplus. Even though AA may need to pay a little extra for the Rays to trade him to a division rival, the Jays may be willing to pay the price for the pitcher. Shields does have an ERA in the mid four’s this year, but given his strong season last year he has shown he is able to pitch in the AL east. Shields is controllable through 2014 rather affordably for a potential ace. The Jays are in desperate need of pitching and Shields seems like the perfect team controllable starter the Jays have been searching for. Shields would make $21 millon over the next two seasons, which will likely be nearly half of what Greinke and Hamels will get if they hit the open market. Tampa currently sits ahead of the Jays in the standings, which leads me to believe they would want major league players to help them both now and in the future. With Hechavarria hitting well in AAA and his strong glove, Yunel Escobar may be expendable. The Rays are not an elite offensive team and could use an upgrade at short. Escobar is also team controllable through 2015 very affordably which would have to attract the small market Rays. I believe Yunel is a valuable piece to any team so I would not give up a top 5 prospect along with Yunel, but more will probably be needed to acquire Shields. If I was AA I would be willing to give up a package like this:
Carlos Perez or A.J Jimenez
Deck Mcguire or Asher Wojciechowski
Matt Garza: Definitely seems like he is being shopped at this point, and could be another solid option for the Jays. Garza will be a free agent after next season and it definitely will not be cheap to retain him beyond that. The Cubs are by no means planning on contending this season, so they will probably want a boatload of prospects back in return. Although Garza is no three month rental, I wouldn’t sell the farm for Garza for a season and a half of him.
Wandy Rodriguez could also be had in the right deal, but given his contract I would hold off on the Astro. Wandy has been pitching in a weaker division and I’m not sold he could be a legitimate #2 starter in the AL East.
The Jays could use all the pitching they could get with three starters out currently, and whether they can land a controllable starter or not they may look for a cheap rental. Cecil doesn’t exactly spell ‘Playoff Push’ for me at the moment and Villeneuva or Laffey could help bolster our depleted bullpen. I think the Jays should look to acquire any starter they could acquire without giving up any significant pieces. Here are some candidates to consider:
Bartolo Colon: Oakland will likely stick to their rebuilding plan despite being in contention for the second wild card spot. Colon isn’t getting any younger and has been effective for Oakland this season with a 3.80 ERA. Although Colon’s home field is very pitcher friendly he was effective for the Yankees last year in their hitter friendly ballpark.
Brandon McCarthy: Like Colon he pitches in Oakland’s pitcher friendly park, but he has been very effective over the last 2 seasons. McCarthy is very injury prone and may not be fully healthy by the deadline, which may keep the Jays away from scouting him. He does have a lot of upside, and if his injuries bring down his asking price quite a bit then it may be worth taking a flyer on him.
Jeremy Guthrie: The Rockies are definitely shopping Guthrie and his ERA over 6. Guthrie has not looked good this season but if he can return to his usual self, he may be a nice pickup. Guthrie likely wouldn’t cost much more than just salary relief and used to be valuable innings eater in the AL East. The Jays scouts will likely keep an eye on Guthrie and if they end up liking what they see, why not?
Jonathan Sanchez: Has not been good for the Royals this season but it likely wouldn’t cost much to acquire him. His high walk rate would not look good in the AL East but if he can get back to 2010 or 2011 form he could be a valuable left handed starter. If he can’t turn his season around before the deadline, forget it.
Joe Saunders could also be traded at the deadline but at the moment it seems like they would be too pricey for my liking. If one can be had without giving up any top 10 prospects then I might give it a shot however.
Paul Maholm: Has had a solid year for the Cubs and may not cost a significant prospect. Can rely on him to eat innings and keep the Jays in the game. If the asking price isn’t outrageous AA should look to acquire him.
Francisco Liriano: Has shown ace potential at times in Minnesota but is very inconsistent. Despite a brutal start to the season his recent success will likely push the Twins asking price far to high for AA’s liking. For an inconsistent pitcher I don’t think it’s worth surrendering a top prospect in any deal for him.
Personally I think the Jays best option is to look to acquire James Shields before the deadline rather than Garza or Rodriguez. I would like the Jays to acquire a stopgap option as well although what each team asks for in return could change my mind. Who would you like to acquire and what would you be willing to give up if you were AA?