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Blue Jays trade rumors: Pitching is top priority

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Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

With the Blue Jays seemingly being a team that currently has holes all over the field, Ken Rosenthal reiterated today that the front office is mainly focused on acquiring more arms ahead of next week's trade deadline. Although the infield situation is currently in a state of disarray, it sounds like Alex Anthopoulos is hoping that the team's injured players return relatively soon and pick up where they left off. Toronto has only scored the 24th most runs in the league during the month of July while also allowing the 24th most, so it seems like it's going to take more than just an arm or two to jump the Yankees and Orioles in the AL East race.

As Rosenthal states, the key injured players (I don't mean Nolan Reimold) are on the verge of returning and should plug all the defensive holes other than second base by the end of the month. That leaves the bullpen with the third-highest ERA in the league and the rotation with the 18th-highest ERA in the league as the problem areas.

A specific arm that is drawing Blue Jays interest is Phillies left-handed reliever Antonio Bastardo according to Jim Salisbury of CSN Philadelphia. The 28-year-old has a 3.27 ERA and 3.09 FIP this season with a 28.8 K%, although the 13 BB% is a bit frightening for a high leverage reliever. On the flip side, he's only allowed two home runs all year in a relative homer-friendly park down in Philadelphia, which would be a big plus in Toronto as well.

Bastardo is extremely cost-effective as well with the southpaw currently in his second year of arbitration on a $2 million deal. This means that he will have one more year of arbitration in 2015 before becoming a free agent where he will almost certainly sign for much higher than he is currently being paid. (h/t to 'carpe.nocti' for reminding me that I forgot to add this in the original post)

The current Blue Jays bullpen features three lefties and five righties, but Bastardo is fairly split neutral and can be used against right-handed batters without much worry. If he was acquired by the Blue Jays, he would probably slot in alongside Brett Cecil, Aaron Loup, and Dustin McGowan as key setup guys, giving the bullpen some much needed depth.