Will the Blue Jays look to add bullpen help?
With Deadline approaching, club may try to add more pieces
TORONTO -- Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos already has pulled off two major moves this week, and now the question is whether he'll be able to do anything else prior to Friday's 4 p.m. ET non-waiver Trade Deadline.
Toronto appears to have ruled out making another significant trade, but Anthopoulos left the door open the possibility of another minor acquisition or two. The holes on the Blue Jays' roster aren't nearly as big as they were a couple of days ago, but there are at least a couple of spots that could be addressed.
The Blue Jays continue to remain interested in adding to the bullpen while it's also possible the club could look to bring in another left fielder to accompany a group that currently includes Danny Valencia, Chris Colabello and Ezequiel Carrera.
"I don't know at this point just because we have until tomorrow, we'll continue to work," Anthopoulos said when asked about the possibility for more moves during a news conference on Thursday afternoon. "We're still talking about some things, but just like the other time, I wasn't optimistic, when we did the [Troy] Tulowitzki deal. I didn't think [David] Price was available so it wasn't even on the radar, totally came out of nowhere.
"If something changes between now and tomorrow, something new, that would be great. Right now, we're working on some small things, but we're not close to anything at all."
Toronto's Minor League system took a major hit this week following the trades for Tulowitzki and Price. Jeff Hoffman, Miguel Castro and Jesus Tinoco went to the Rockies while prospects Daniel Norris, Matt Boyd and Jairo Labourt went to Detroit.
Despite the moves, the Blue Jays still have quite a few enticing players that could generate some interest prior to Friday's Deadline. Outfielders Dalton Pompey, now Toronto's No. 1 prospect, according to MLBPipeline.com, and Anthony Alford remain in the system along with catcher Max Pentecost, slugger Rowdy Tellez and a promising group of pitchers in Jonathan Harris, Sean Reid-Foley, Conner Greene and Alberto Tirado.
The bigger issue is whether Anthopoulos has any financial flexibility remaining in his payroll. Toronto is taking on the approximately $7.5 million that remains on Price's contract for this season and that was believed to be around the total amount that Anthopoulos had left to spend.
"It's not something that I would openly discuss just because from a competitive standpoint it probably doesn't do me any good for some people to know," Anthopoulos said. "But, I mean look, I think the fact that we were able to add that payroll speaks to the support of ownership."
A case could be made that the Blue Jays would still benefit from adding another starter. Drew Hutchison has struggled this year and there is some uncertainty surrounding whether Marco Estrada will be able to maintain his current pace for the remainder of the season.
Texas' Yovani Gallardo, Seattle's Hisashi Iwakuma and Cincinnati's Mike Leake reportedly remain available while the Padres trio of Tyson Ross, Andrew Cashner and James Shields continue to get mentioned in rumors. It seems unlikely that the Blue Jays would be able to add another starter with that type of pedigree, but considering the way Anthopoulos typically operates, it's impossible to rule out.
The club also could look to make one additional move in the bullpen. Toronto's relievers received upgrades over the past week following the addition of LaTroy Hawkins and the activation of Aaron Sanchez from the disabled list, and while it appears to be a relatively strong group, there is always room for improvement.
"Right now, I have to circle back because really we were working on this [Price deal] the whole way through," Anthopoulos said. "Once you're in agreement on a deal and you're working on some things, you really don't want to engage in other trade talks until you're done.
"Now that we're done, I'll circle back to some of the discussions we were having. I'd let everybody know if I had a chance to get a bird in the hand, we had a lot of discussions on a lot of starters, but if I had a deal I liked, I was going to close."