TORONTO — It’s not even a debate at this point.
Based mostly on their start off and the way the teams guiding them are floundering, the Toronto Blue Jays are the quick favorite for the eighth and closing postseason spot in a best-hefty American League.
Opportunity is knocking and standard manager Ross Atkins looks fascinated in answering the door and rolling the dice on a shortened-time playoff run in excess of the future few of months.
Even with critical names like Bo Bichette, Ken Giles, Matt Shoemaker and Nate Pearson all on the hurt list with murky return dates, Atkins’ youthful ballclub has performed particularly what they essential to do by way of the initial 50 percent of this 60-activity period: Remain afloat and give them selves a likelihood.
Wherever items go from listed here will have a whole lot to do with overall health, a minor bit of luck, and whether or not Atkins and the entrance business office can locate some reinforcements for a banged up rotation, an overworked bullpen, a lineup that could use some size and a bench in want of some depth and defensive updates.
As a workforce, the Jays are much from best.
There will be substantial conversations involving now and Monday’s 400 p.m. ET Important League Baseball trade deadline, but that is where by the certainty stops.
“I would be expecting us to be extremely active, it is just what the outcomes stop up currently being, we’ll see,” Atkins explained. “We would like to continue on to increase to our pitching and we would like to proceed to complement our offence. We’ll be extra centered on the operate avoidance side, which could be some type of defensive complement that also delivers offence, definitely. Pitching and operate avoidance will be our aim moving forward.”
Atkins got out ahead of the pack by attaining proper-hander Taijuan Walker from the Seattle Mariners on Thursday, but the deadline chatter in this unique year appears to be in line with past many years, leaving some GMs expecting a active Monday.
“I was essentially speaking to an executive who agreed we have all, I believe, throughout the industry been pleasantly surprised with how active all people is,” Atkins reported. “It feels quite considerably like a normal deadline. The phone calls are non-quit, the features are steady, we’re making huge development and comprehension wherever the prospects are and that bodes well for us getting able to make the workforce far better.”
Here’s a seem at 6 names that could enable the Blue Jays down the extend.
RHP Lance Lynn, Texas Rangers
Currently connected to the Jays just lately by Ken Rosenthal, Lynn represents one particular of the prizes of the pitching market.
With one more yr remaining on his 3-calendar year, $30 million offer the 33-12 months-previous signed at the conclusion of the 2018 period, Lynn is a major-of-the-rotation piece that would supply price for the Jays in 2021, as properly.
He’s also likely to charge a ton in terms of prospect capital, anything Atkins may well not be extremely keen to commit to at this phase, but there’s no doubt a duo of Hyun-Jin Ryu and Lynn would give the Jays a opportunity in a brief postseason series occur October.
The Jays could also examine in on Rangers lefty Mike Slight, who, inspite of a down period so far, furnished 4.1 fWAR and a 3.59 Period across 32 begins in 2019.
RHP Dylan Bundy, Los Angeles Angels
Yet another arm which is controllable by the 2021 campaign, Bundy will also cost a whole lot.
Not only is he still just 27, Bundy has also refined his repertoire this season and the success have been great, foremost to a 2.58 Period by way of six starts off and occupation greatest strikeout (10.3) and stroll charges (1.9).
The fourth all round select from the 2011 draft my ultimately be dwelling up to some of the hoopla, and any getting crew may well be obtaining a person of Bundy’s key many years in 2021.
That by itself is one thing the Jays must be interested in.
LHP Robbie Ray, Arizona Diamondbacks
A totally free agent at the stop of the calendar year, Ray would be a pure rental for the Jays, specially taking into consideration the lefty is carrying a 7.84 Era and some just-as-unpleasant peripherals via 7 begins.
A major-time strikeout arm with a 11.1 occupation K/9, it’s uncertain if the Jays would be interested in a little bit of a venture, but the rate will under no circumstances be reduce for a pitcher when viewed as 1 of the finest set to grow to be obtainable this winter.
You can include San Francisco Giants suitable-hander Kevin Gausman to this pile, as effectively.
SS Andrelton Simmons, Los Angeles Angels
On Saturday, MLB Network’s Jon Morosi claimed that the Jays have “checked in” on Simmons, arguably the best defensive shortstop in the game.
At initially glance, it may perhaps be curious with Bichette in the fold, but shifting the 22-yr-old to 2nd foundation and inserting Simmons at the six-place would transform their middle infield defence into probably the greatest in baseball.
Simmons, a free agent this wintertime, has not offered a great deal with the bat since a breakout 2018 period — he’s a profession .268/.316/.379 hitter — but his glove provides so a lot standalone worth that it’s not shocking Atkins has at the very least termed.
There is also the health and fitness aspect to think about.
Bichette has re-started off baseball actions in attempt to return from his knee sprain, but the Jays have not specified out a concrete timeline.
RHP Chad Kuhl, Pittsburgh Pirates
Prior to the Walker trade going down, the Jays ended up loosely related to a pair of Pittsburgh Pirates ideal-handers in Kuhl and Trevor Williams.
Both of those are somewhat unproven, uninteresting again-of-the-rotation alternatives, but Kuhl has some intriguing bat-lacking skill that Williams does not, building him an exciting identify to keep track of as an less than-the-radar arm that could be on the move.
By 25 innings this year, Kuhl has pitched to a 2.54 Era, when Williams is sitting on a 5.34 Era through six starts off.
Both are under team regulate by way of the 2023 time.
RHP Mike Clevinger, Cleveland
We’ll finish this off with a big splash circumstance, a single that would shake up American League projections in a huge way and excite the heck out of Blue Jays fans.
Thanks to some questionable pandemic determination-building and a Cleveland corporation that appears capable of establishing pitchers in its rest, a 29-12 months-old ace in Clevinger may well be readily available.
The value, on the other hand, will be as steep as it gets.
The romance amongst entrance workplaces could be a important right here, as the Jays and Cleveland engaged on Corey Kluber this previous wintertime, and that framework could at minimum be a get started.
If the Jays are intrigued in this sort of blockbuster, even if it is not Clevinger in the finish, the two names to continue to keep an eye on in the process are younger catchers Alejandro Kirk and Gabriel Moreno, each of whom have been questioned about various instances in trade talks above the previous 12 months.