Inbox: Could Sanchez be headed to the bullpen?

Beat reporter Gregor Chisholm answers questions from Blue Jays fans

July 21st, 2016

I'm so confused about the plan for . Are the Blue Jays going to move him to the bullpen?

-- Kristy M., Toronto

To be honest, I'm as confused as you are. Sanchez to the bullpen was a foregone conclusion earlier this year, but there have been at least a few hints that the line of thinking might be starting to change. Manager John Gibbons' stance of "it's going to happen" has changed to "it's probably going to happen."

Whatever the final decision is, this won't be Gibbons' call, and he said as much earlier this week. This decision will be made by the front office, and they'll be using some of their sports-science technology and analysis to evaluate Sanchez's delivery, release point, velocity and a lot of other things along the way.

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Whether or not Sanchez goes to the 'pen is anybody's guess, but a move would be hard to justify at this point. Sanchez has yet to show any signs of fatigue and he has firmly cemented his spot as one of the top young pitchers in the game. In my opinion, this team needs Sanchez in the rotation to contend, and he should remain in his current role until he starts to noticeably wear down.

If Sanchez goes to the 'pen, do the Blue Jays go out and get themselves a legit starter like or ? Or do they stick with ?

-- Karim, Mississauga, Ontario

If Sanchez goes to the bullpen, then the Blue Jays really have no choice but to acquire another starter. Hutchison would be a relatively solid option, but there's a serious lack of depth behind him, and if anybody gets hurt, it could create some very dangerous issues.

It's highly unlikely that the starter would be a big name. Toronto does not have enough assets in the Minors to compete with teams like the Rangers, who are also in the market for a starter. The Blue Jays had a scout in attendance at the Phillies' game on Wednesday night when was the starting pitcher. That's more likely to be the type of pitcher Toronto would target.

What's wrong with trading for a starter? has been doing a good job in right field.

-- Jim Davey

There have been a lot of questions this week about the possibility of trading Bautista, but let's put an end to that right now. It's not going to happen, and there are plenty of reasons why. First and foremost, Bautista has a full no-trade clause and would have to approve any deal, and there's simply no reason for him to do that while playing for a contender he's comfortable with.

Carrera has been a pleasant surprise. He has exceeded expectations every step of the way, but his performance is also starting to slip back to his career norms. Carrera was hitting .330 as a part-time player until Bautista went down with a foot injury, and since then, Carrera is batting .218 with a .681 OPS. Bautista will do a lot better than that, and the Blue Jays need his bat.

If you could pick one player that would best complement and improve this Jays team, who would you select?

-- Mike Robertson

I will go slightly off the beaten path and say A's lefty . The 29-year-old is currently on the DL with a shoulder strain, so the medicals would have to be looked at very closely, but he's expected to start throwing this week, and I think he would be the perfect fit for Toronto's bullpen.

There's no guarantee that Doolittle will be moved before the Trade Deadline because he's under team control at a reasonable salary through 2020, but A's general manager Billy Beane has never shied away from shaking things up. Doolittle has posted mostly even splits throughout his career, and he could be used against both righties and lefties in a setup role to .

An honorable mention goes to Milwaukee's and Minnesota's . I still think will turn things around at some point, but he has struggled for most of the year and the Blue Jays need some additional insurance in case those problems continue. Even if they don't, two strong lefties in the 'pen is a luxury every contending team would love to have.

If prices are too high for pitching, should the Jays just go all in on hitting? What's the asking price for ?

-- Kevin Cohen, Calgary, Alberta

There's a good chance that the price for starting pitching -- at least anyone who is more than a fourth or fifth starter -- is going to be too high, but there's no reason the Blue Jays can't make a move to address the bullpen. There seems to be a lot of relievers on the market from both the left and right side.

Personally, I would focus on pitching and not worry too much about the offense. Would a Beltran or provide an upgrade? Sure, but I don't think it's worth parting with assets that could be used to upgrade elsewhere. I also would not want Encarnacion playing first base every day and risk something happening to his back or legs, which have caused issues in the past.

What prospects could be on the move before the Trade Deadline?

-- Jim P., Edmonton, Alberta

I have a hard time believing the Blue Jays are going to part with any of their top prospects, a group that includes Anthony Alford, Conner Greene, Sean Reid-Foley, Jon Harris, Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Richard Urena and Rowdy Tellez. After that, anyone and everyone could be up for grabs.

Two names to keep an eye on are Angel Perdomo and Francisco Rios, who participated in the SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game during the All-Star break. Neither pitcher was ranked on's preseason list of Toronto's top prospects, but they'll surely be there at the end of the year if they're still around.