Last year's trade deadline was quite the spectacle. Alex Anthopoulos turned reality into a video game, turning the roster into a powerhouse in the process. In a four-day span, the Blue Jays added Troy Tulowitzki, David Price, Ben Revere, Mark Lowe, and LaTroy Hawkins.
After completing two trades on Tuesday, the Blue Jays are buyers once again. With prices at an all time high around the deadline, let's look into which players could deliver the best "bang for one's buck".
Rich Hill: He could be an ace, but his limited track record will surely drive down his value significantly. Hill looked to be an ordinary minor league veteran for most of last season, but ended up dominating for the Red Sox in four September MLB starts.
He's battled a couple of minor injuries this year, but Hill continues to excel when he takes the mound. A 2.25 ERA is incredible, and he's striking out hitters at impressive rate to boot. He's currently recovering from a bad blister, but could be back in action as soon as Sunday.
Jeremy Hellickson: Andrew Cashner is the next big name on the market, but Hellickson could provide similar value for a fraction of the cost. Toronto's front office continues to target pitchers that continually outperform their peripheral statistics, and this 29-year old does just that.
Hellickson was extremely effective with the Tampa Bay Rays from 2010-2012, before struggling greatly up until this season. He's bounced back in 21 starts this season, as his 3.65 ERA is very respectable. His struggles in recent years should drive down his price, but Hellickson's 2016 numbers are similar to Marco Estrada's before he joined the Blue Jays. He could be worth a shot as a backend starter.
Danny Duffy: The Royals look to be out of the playoff picture, and the Jays may prefer to spend on someone who is controllable next season. This 27-year old lefty has split time between the rotation and bullpen, which would provide a ton of flexibility to John Gibbons.
He owns a 3.22 ERA to go along with one of the better K/BB ratios in all of baseball. Although his name is not all over the rumour mill, he could make an impressive under-the-radar acquisition for Ross Atkins. He's always possessed terrific stuff, and is now putting it all together.
Carlos Ruiz: Since Josh Thole became a Blue Jay in 2013, he's been one of the worst hitters in all of major league baseball. Toronto ranks 28th at catcher in terms of WAR, and could use an insurance policy in case anything happens to Russell Martin. The Erik Kratz signing is not sufficient.
R.A. Dickey is not performing at a high enough level to warrant playing time for Thole. Russell Martin has caught the knuckleball before, and don't be surprised if Ruiz can do it as well.
Ruiz has been a league average hitter this year, which is more than we can say about either of the Jays catchers. He owns a strong reputation defensively, and a respectable walk rate can lead to an above-average on-base percentage. He's also more than a rental, as his $4.5M club option is likely to be picked up.
Geovany Soto: He's currently on the disabled list, but is likely to return to action just after the trade deadline. Although he is often injured, Soto can hit well enough to be a starter on some teams. He boasts a .284/.333/.478 in just 22 games this year, and has historically excelled against left-handed pitching.
Jake McGee- He's struggled greatly at Coors Field this year, but was exceptional with the Tampa Bay Rays in recent seasons. He looks to be a non-tender candidate this offseason, so chances are this is a rental acquisiton. The price should be very low, and the Jays could use McGee strictly as a left-handed specialist to start off. If he can regain his previous form, you have yourself a complete steal.
Steve Pearce: The Jays don't have much of a need in terms of position players, but Pearce is criminally underrated. If we look at his numbers since the start of 2013, his offensive production compares to stars like Carlos Correa and Chris Davis. Seriously, check it out. He's also a very strong defender at first base, and can play all over the field. The Jays could use Justin Smoak as a bench bat down the stretch, and look to resign Pearce for a bargain price.