Toronto Blue Jays Trade Rumors: Latest Updates, News and Reaction

Rick Weiner@RickWeinerNYFeatured ColumnistJuly 1, 2014

Toronto Blue Jays Trade Rumors: Latest Updates, News and Reaction

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    One of baseball's most dangerous lineups and a resurgent (and seemingly ageless) Mark Buehrle have powered the Toronto Blue Jays into the thick of the American League playoff race, with the team setting its sights on clinching its first AL East crown since 1993.

    But for all of the team's early-season success, there's work to be done between now and the non-waiver trade deadline on July 31. Bolstering the starting rotation and the bullpen and investigating potential upgrades at second base and/or third base figure to be the major areas general manager Alex Anthopoulos focuses on as the trade deadline draws near.

    But the price of doing business is steep. Toronto tried to work out a deal for Chicago's Jason Hammel and Jeff Samardzija, according to Sportsnet's Shi Davidi, but Chicago's asking price of Drew Hutchison, Marcus Stroman and either Daniel Norris, Dalton Pompey or Aaron Sanchez was too rich for the club's liking.

    Yet that doesn't mean that the club's going to stop trying to improve.

    How's a Blue Jays fan supposed to keep up with it all?

    Keep it here for the most up-to-the-minute rumblings about the Jays along with analysis and everything else that comes with it.

    While the post date will always show as July 1, this tracker will be constantly updated. Simply click to the next slide to see the latest from the rumor mill as the Blue Jays look to end a two-decade postseason absence.

Done Deals

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    USA TODAY Sports

    July 14: Acquired 1B Brett Wallace from Baltimore for cash considerations, per the Virginian Pilot's David Hall and MASN Sports' Roch Kubatko

    July 28: Acquired IF Danny Valencia from Kansas City for RHP Liam Hendriks and C Erik Kratz

Blue Jays Still on the Hunt for Reinforcements

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    Update: Thursday, July 31 at 9:35 a.m. ET

    The Blue Jays have abandoned their search for another bat and are now completely focused on trying to upgrade their pitching staff, Sherman tweets.

    --End of Update--

    Wednesday, July 30 at 1:52 p.m. ET

    While the club doesn't believe that it's close to pulling the trigger on anything, the New York Post's Joel Sherman reports that the Blue Jays are still looking for a front-of-the-rotation arm, bullpen help and an everyday second baseman.

    The clock is ticking, but there's still plenty of time for Toronto to get the pieces they want for the stretch run.

    --End of Update--

    Monday, July 28 at 12:40 p.m. ET

    Sportsnet's Shi Davidi says that a number of teams have been scouting some of the Blue Jays prospects at a number of different minor league levels recently:

    Scouts from the Texas Rangers, among other clubs, have also been through Vancouver more often than usual of late, where shortstop Franklin Barreto (.313/.401/.464 in 43 games), right-hander Miguel Castro (5-2 with a 2.18 ERA in nine starts, 48 strikeouts in 45.1 innings) and left-hander Jairo Labourt (2-3 with a 2.79 ERA in nine starts, 43 strikeouts in 38.2 innings) appear to be focal points.

    Meanwhile, left-hander Sean Nolin is headed back to triple-A Buffalo after making a couple of rehab starts with single-A Dunedin (7.1 innings, three runs, four walks, nine strikeouts) and an outing for the rookie ball GCL Blue Jays.

    An industry source said the Philadelphia Phillies watched him specifically in Florida. Nolin had been out since June 17 with a left groin injury, and his next regular turn comes up Tuesday, when the Bisons host Indianapolis.

    As Davidi goes on to note, these scouting trips could simply be part of a team's normal rotation. But you can't discount the possibility that these scouts were sent to watch certain players specifically, as the Phillies are said to have done with Nolin (pictured).

    The Blue Jays have been linked to Phillies' left-handed reliever Antonio Bastardo, and while the southpaw wouldn't command a prospect of Nolin's caliber by himself, it's possible that the teams could be working on a bigger deal.

    Then again, it could be much ado about nothing.

Cleveland's Asdrubal Cabrera No Longer an Option for Second or Third?

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    Update: Thursday, July 30 at 9:18 a.m. ET

    Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal says that the Blue Jays are not expected to add a hitter before the deadline.

    --End of Update--

    Update: Wednesday, July 30 at 6:23 p.m. ET

    The Blue Jays are considering making a run at Cabrera to play second base, CBS Sports' Jon Heyman reports. Adding Cabrera would allow the team to move Brett Lawrie back to third base when he returns from the disabled list.

    Both Arizona's Aaron Hill and Martin Prado are too expensive for Toronto, who only have a limited amount of wiggle room left in their budget for the year.

    --End of Update--

    Sunday, July 27 at 6:58 p.m. ET

    In talking about Toronto's lack of interest in Texas' Alex Rios, Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal says that Cleveland's Asdrubal Cabrera could be an option for the Blue Jays.

    A free agent after the season, the two-time All-Star has scuffled at the plate and in the field for the Indians, hitting only .247 with a .699 OPS, though he does have 33 extra-base hits on the season, including nine home runs.

    Primarily a shortstop, Cabrera would likely be asked to play either second base or third base were the Blue Jays to acquire him, positions that he hasn't played since 2009 and 2007, respectively.

Brandon Barnes: Potential Trade Target

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    Friday, July 25 at 4:13 p.m. ET

    The Blue Jays have been scouting Colorado outfielder Brandon Barnes, according to Patrick Saunders of the Denver Post, but has not yet made an offer.

    Barnes, 28, has played all three outfield spots for the Rockies this year, hitting .236 with four home runs, 13 RBI and a .680 OPS in 86 games. While he grades out as an above-average defender over the course of his three-year career, advanced metrics say he's had a rough time in the field this year.

    Were the Blue Jays to acquire his right-handed bat, he'd likely serve as the team's primary reserve outfielder. 

Antonio Bastardo to Bolster Bullpen?

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    Wednesday, July 23 at 1:45 p.m. ET

    While the Blue Jays continue to look in-house for ways to bolster the bullpen, they've not abandoned their search for outside help.

    CSN Philly's Jim Salisbury reports that Toronto is one of four teams, along with the Pirates, Royals and Tigers that have been scouting the Phillies and are believed to have interest in left-handed reliever Antonio Bastardo.

    Under team control for one more year, the 28-year-old southpaw has pitched to a 3.27 ERA and 1.11 WHIP over 44 innings, striking out 53 and is tough on batters from both sides of the plate.

    With Brett Cecil's 1.61 WHIP leaving much to be desired, Bastardo would be a strong second left-handed option in the pen alongside Aaron Loup.

Arizona's Martin Prado Toronto's Top Priority?

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    Update: Sunday, July 6 at 8:38 p.m. ET 

    Martin Prado's versatility seems to have pushed him to the front of Toronto's list of targets in Arizona, according to Fox Sports' Jon Paul Morosi.

    It makes sense, given Prado's ability to play second base, third base, shortstop and left field—allowing manager John Gibbons to mix-and-match his defensive alignment from game-to-game if need be.

    --End of Update--

    Update: Saturday, July 5 at 8:42 p.m. ET

    Fox Sports' Jon Paul Morosi names the Blue Jays as one of three teams—along with San Francisco and St. Louis—that has interest in Arizona's available infielders.

    That list is believed to include former Blue Jays 2B Aaron Hill, the versatile Martin Prado, who can play three infield positions and a trio of shortstops: Nick Ahmed, Didi Gregorius and Chris Owings.

    It stands to reason that Hill and Prado would hold the most interest for Toronto, though it's unclear what Arizona is seeking in return or if the Blue Jays have presented the Diamondbacks with an offer.

    --End of Update--

    While there's a case to be made for the Blue Jays to move Brett Lawrie back to third base once his broken finger heals and acquire an upgrade at second base, that's not how things are going to play out, according to a report from CBS Sports' Jon Heyman.

    Toronto has little interest in Milwaukee's Rickie Weeks or New York's Daniel Murphy, two names that have been floated as potentially being available as the trade deadline draws near, with Heyman citing the pair's defensive skills as the biggest issue.

    While adding another second baseman remains a possibility, it certainly seems as if the Blue Jays have focused their attention elsewhere.

Cole Hamels Not a Trade Option?

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    Update: Wed., July 2 at 10:04 a.m. ET

    Should the Philadelphia Phillies become sellers at the deadline, Toronto could have interest in a number of players, most notably starters Cliff Lee, Kyle Kendrick and Cole Hamels.

    Not only is Hamels contract, which has five years and more than $100 million remaining on it, a significant obstacle to get around, but Fox Sports' Ken Rosenthal tweets  that the southpaw has Toronto on his no-trade list.

    While that doesn't necessarily kill a potential deal, it's unclear what—if anything—it would take to get Hamels to waive the clause and join the Blue Jays rotation.