At this time of year, every team in baseball is looking for pitching help, and the Toronto Blue Jays are no different. With a rotation that currently consists of R.A. Dickey, Mark Buehrle, Josh Johnson, Esmil Rogers, and Todd Redmond, we could debate that the Blue Jays need that pitching help MORE than most teams.
However, the cost of acquiring said pitching help at this time of the season is generally costly, with desperate teams often making ill-advised deals to rent an arm for the season’s final two and a half months. Just ask the Texas Rangers, who have swung deals to rent Cliff Lee in 2010 and Ryan Dempster in 2012, and are said to be heavily in on landing Matt Garza this year.
Now ask the Rangers where those two pitchers are today and whether they feel they can lock up Garza long-term.
Putting ourselves in the shoes of Alex Anthopoulos, we recognize Toronto’s need to add at least one solid arm to the rotation. However, we also realize how ill-conceived it is to make a major splash in the trade market when the team is 45-51 and a full nine games out of the nearest playoff spot.
Would you further diminish the Minor League talent pull in order to throw up a Hail Mary?
However, there may be an option for the Blue Jays that could both help this season, and possibly set them up with a solid arm to carry into next season’s rotation. His name is Miguel Alfredo Gonzalez.
The Blue Jays are said to be heavily interested in signing the 26-year-old Cuban sensation. However, they have a lot of competition to acquire the flamethrowing right-hander, with interested parties also including the Los Angeles Dodgers, Chicago Cubs, New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Texas Rangers, Philadelphia Phillies, Minnesota Twins and Miami Marlins. The price tag to land Gonzalez is expected to be in the range of 5-years, $60 million.
While the Blue Jays may not wish to make such a large investment under normal circumstances, especially after seeing their spending last winter backfire so badly, this may be a risk worth taking. Gonzalez has a mid-90′s fastball, a forkball, a change-up, and a curveball, all of which are solid, Major League ready pitches. And according to his agent, in an interview with ESPN Deportes, he could help a Major League team this season.
He’d only need to go to the minor leagues a couple of weeks and make a few starts before debuting in the major leagues. Some of the clubs more interested were evaluating him for a long time, way before he came out of Cuba.
Hmm, a four-pitch, Major League caliber arm just hanging low on the tree, ripe for the picking. That sounds like something that Blue Jays should be all over. He may be too late to rescue the Blue Jays season in 2013, but with J.A. Happ and Brandon Morrow on the mend and set to return sometime in August, he could help the team push toward respectability this season. Gonzalez may also be a solid piece to help build the 2014 club around and would give the team more options in regards to Josh Johnson.
All it takes is Anthopoulos convincing the higher-ups at Rogers that the team is worth one last risky move. What else does he have to lose?