A disappointing end to what looked like would be a sweep of the Orioles going into the 7th inning in yesterday’s game But the Jays took two of three against the team they’re chasing and left little doubt about the fact that they’re among the elite team in the American League this season and are serious contenders heading into today and the non waiver trade deadline. So now the question is what will they do?
Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins have already made a couple of moves acquiring outfielder Melvin Upton and right handed reliever Joaquin Benoit. But I firmly believe more is coming today. I have no doubt we won’t see anything major, they don’t have the need, nor the farm system to pull something like that off. The Tulowitzki injury, even if a stint on the DL is required, shouldn’t impact anything. Barney is capable of stepping in for him, and Ryan Goins will be back from Buffalo soon. What we could see is three or even four minor-middle of the road moves that they need to put them over the top.
So with that being said, let’s take a look at what could be done today.
Jose Bautista to 1B/DH
This seems to be something the organization is very interesting in getting done by 2PM MST today. An upgrade defensively in right field is needed as Bautista is among the worst fielding RF’s in the game. And while the lineup is as good as any in baseball there is still room for improvement. Another solid, left handed bat would give this lineup great balance and make life miserable for any starter who faces them.
Josh Reddick – News broke yesterday, FINALLY, that the Jays have talked to the A’s about Reddick. Former gold glove winner, lefty bat (.296 BA, .368 OBP), he would be a great fit.
Jay Bruce – I still think they’re in on Bruce, but they clearly have competition on him. He is going to be more expensive than Reddick. Better bat and a reasonable option for next season.
Left handed reliever
To me this is the number one need for this ball club. It is unbelievable to me that after witnessing the great need for another quality lefty in the pen in last year’s playoffs that Shapiro didn’t make it a major priority in the offseason. I still believe Cecil can help lock things down, but if they’re able to use him in a similar role to how they used Loup last season and upgrade on Cecil, that pen would be in damn good shape.
Will Smith – I think he’s the guy, assuming they are hard after a high end LH reliever and that they can reach a deal with the Brewers.
Sean Dolittle – He comes with big risk as he is injured, expected back in mid August. But, he’s a top end LH reliever who could come relatively cheap.
Now this is what most believe they’re hard after in an attempt to replace Aaron Sanchez. Jayson Stark of ESPN had a great piece on the Sanchez situation on Friday that I retweeted which had a lot of interesting tidbits including the average velocity for Sanchez this season that barely changed month to month. Every month, 95 MPH. And I really don’t get why you put him back in the pen. To me, you shut him down in late August or early September and bring him back for the playoffs…should they make it there without their best pitcher and Cy Young candidate…anyway, at the moment, the bigger concern has to be Marco Estrada’s durability. It’s a legit concern now whether or not his back will hold up for the remainder of the season. So they definitely need to get a guy, but it won’t be anyone high profile.
Jeremy Hellickson – He’s had a real solid season for the Phillies and having played in Tampa previously he’s very familiar with the division.
Rich Hill – The A’s lefty was appearing to be the top pitcher available at the deadline. Ironically prior to facing the Jays a few weeks back he was scratched and hasn’t pitched since. The price for him will have dropped dramatically because of the risk involved. I do wonder if there is potential for a very large deal with the A’s because Reddick, Doolittle and Hill would shore up the Jays if Doolittle and Hill can comeback and could be affordable for Shapiro and Atkins.
C.C. Sabathia – He is a shot fighter…but he has a connection to Shapiro and he would cost nothing. He hasn’t been that bad this season, but the durability is a concern. If he’s healthy though, he’s worth adding.
Right handed reliever
I’m not so sure this is a need anymore, but I still would be interested in some insurance. It’s an extremely small sample size, however thus far Joaquin Benoit has looked real good. If he can return to form, they have a real good arm in the pen. And Jason Grilli as emerged as a pretty good setup man. Still, as the Royals showed last season, you just can’t have enough good arms in the pen. And this really is the only weak area of the ball club.
Brandon Kintzler – The Twins reliever has been lights out this season with a 2.14 ERA and a 1.07 WHIP in 33 2/3 innings.
Joe Smith – He’s not having a good season for the Angels, but he has a pretty good track record as a reliable setup man. The cost on him as an impending free agent would likely be easy to swallow.
I’m perhaps more certain of this move being done than any other, but it may not be done until August 31st. The reason for that it will be a move that no team will care to block, and in September the team can then carry three catchers once it shifts to a 40 man roster. That way R.A. Dickey can still have Josh Thole catch his games, and come October I highly doubt Dickey will be on the playoff roster with the way he’s pitched this season.
Dioneer Navarro – I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, Navarro makes the most sense to me. The White Sox aren’t starting him, he’s a free agent, he knows the team, he’s worked with most of the pitching staff (and had a great chemistry last season with Marco Estrada), and Gibbons eemed to be a big fan of him. I know Shapiro and Atkins weren’t the guys who had him, but it wouldn’t be a big deal so I could simply see it being a case of Gibbons asking them to bring him back. The cost would be miniscule at best.
This hasn’t been and won’t be like last year’s trade deadline for Jays fans. There was no way it could be, but there was no need for that kind of action this time around. Look for the team to plug some of these small holes and be ecstatic should they do it. And even if they don’t, they can still maneuver. They’re in a tremendous spot.
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