Club out to upgrade rotation, but Morrow, Happ due back in early August
TORONTO -- The Blue Jays have yet to make a decision on whether they will become buyers at the upcoming non-waiver Trade Deadline, but if they do, then it's likely because a big piece is available at the right price.
The club is in the market for an upgrade to its rotation, but with Brandon Morrow and J.A. Happ expected to return in early August, the talent coming to Toronto would need to be significant.
The Blue Jays have managed to get by with right-handers Chien-Ming Wang and Esmil Rogers in the rotation, so it's possible the club won't need to make a move, but a lot can change between now and July 31.
"I think it really depends on how the guys here are doing," general manager Alex Anthopoulos said of possible trades. "We need a lot of guys internally to improve ... and we need guys to go on a run. But I think it changes.
"I'd say it's start-to-start and week-to-week at this point. And really, I find the trade market is pretty slow right now anyways. A lot of people are just kind of gathering information. The fact that we do have guys coming back, we'd have to feel pretty confident that it's a significant upgrade."
The Blue Jays have R.A. Dickey, Mark Buehrle and Josh Johnson locked into the rotation. Morrow also has a guaranteed job upon his return, while Happ could slot into a starting role or transition to the bullpen as he attempts to come back from a serious knee injury.
Wang likely will be out of a job when either Morrow or Happ returns, but the same can't necessarily be said for Rogers. The 27-year-old has gone 2-1 with a 2.06 ERA in 35 innings since joining the starting staff on May 29.
If Rogers continues to perform as the Deadline approaches, then it's certainly possible the Blue Jays will reward him with a permanent job. That could take Toronto out of the market for starting pitching, but injuries will play a role as well.
"Happ and Morrow are going be back pretty soon, we're pretty confident in that," Anthopoulos said. "I think it would have to be something that's really going to have an impact. I think those guys are a month away, maybe sooner. You look at August, if you make a deal, you want to get an impact guy. So, it doesn't really impact who's coming back."
Anthopoulos admitted he has already tested the waters with multiple teams, but there aren't any moves on the horizon. There are a lot of teams still figuring out whether they have a chance to compete for a spot in the postseason or will instead be forced to rebuild.
As more and more teams drop out of the race, the available talent should increase. Marlins right-hander Ricky Nolasco and Cubs right-hander Matt Garza are expected to be dealt in July, while others could be added to the mix relatively soon.
Garza, in particular, could interest the Blue Jays. Toronto scouts have been spotted at his recent outings and the organization is likely building intel on Garza and every other significant piece that could be shopped at the Deadline.
For now, it remains a wait-and-see approach until the market starts dictating who is available and for what cost.
"There has been a few clubs I've talked to, I've asked about their timeline, some teams have to wait," Anthopoulos said. "They want to wait to see where their club is in a few weeks. I had a club I talked to [Monday] night that said they need another week to 10 days.
"Right now, we're not engaged in anything at all. In a lot of the phone calls I've had, I think people are just trying to gather information at this point. We've called clubs, clubs have called us and we're just trying to take notes on what everyone is going to look to do. After the All-Star break is when things get a lot more serious."