Jun 30, 2013; Boston, MA, USA; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Mark Buehrle (56) pitches during the first inning against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park. Mandatory Credit: Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY Sports

MLB Trade Deadline 2013: Scouts, Execs split over Mark Buehrle, Josh Johnson

With the MLB July 31 non-waiver trade deadline only two days away rumors continue to swirl around the Toronto Blue Jays. What will Alex Anthopoulos do, if anything? Travis Bateman over at Tip of the Tower has some ideas for AA that I mostly agree with. It makes me wonder what a package of Adam Lind plus either Casey Janssen, Steve Delabar or Brett Cecil could bring back to Toronto. In other news across the interweb, Mark Buehrle and Josh Johnson speculation refuses to go away. According to Nick Cafardo from the Boston Globe, scouts and executives are relatively split on whether or not the Blue Jays could trade either player.

The Jays will likely stick with their core players through the trade deadline and hope it works out for them next season. You hear different things among the scouts and executives about whether the Jays could sell off Buehrle and/or Josh Johnson, who will be a free agent at the end of the season. Buehrle, 34, isn’t the Buehrle of old, but when he spins a beauty like he did against the Astros Thursday, throwing 74 of his 108 pitches for strikes in a 4-0 win at Rogers Centre that took two hours and 18 minutes, he shows he does have value for a contender. The Jays could get a decent return.

The Jays could get a decent return? I’m not so sure about that myself. Jays Journal Editor Kyle Franzoni already did a great job downplaying the surmise Buehrle could be traded to the St. Louis Cardinals. Even if the Jays found a dance partner, Toronto would more than likely be forced to eat a fair chunk of his behemoth contract. But at least Buehrle was able to somewhat rise his trade stock against the lowly Houston Astros unlike the enigma that has become Josh Johnson.

So what competing teams need help in their starting rotation? According to ESPN’s Market Central, the Arizona Diamondbacks are the only team with a record above .500 with starting pitching as a weakness. The Diamondbacks already had a payroll north of $90 million to start the season so I don’t see them very keen on taking on Buehrle’s salary.

As for Johnson, I gave readers my thoughts last week and I’m sticking to my guns. After watching another shellacking this weekend I’m even more convinced that he does not deserve a qualifying offer. I was holding my breath at the time but Drew Hutchison appears that he might be ready to go again for the Blue Jays. Kyle Drabek has never done anything positive for Toronto but at least adds depth and maybe some day will fulfill part of his potential. Marcus Stroman, Sean Nolin and John Stilson all will look to compete for a rotation spot in Spring Training next year.

So will the Toronto Blue Jays be able to move either Mark Buehrle or Josh Johnson in the next two days? Probably not. But other than Darren Oliver, Buehrle and Johnson continue to be the two names that come up the most often in trade rumors outside the city of Toronto. I guess the rest of Major League Baseball just expects the Blue Jays to run out Triple-A starters (or worse) the rest of 2013…

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Tags: Josh Johnson Mark Buehrle Toronto Blue Jays

  • RyanMueller

    I think that if old man Ortiz would have stayed healthy his record would still have bested JJ’s current record. So I would have no problem with AA and Gibby running out AAA pitchers if it meant getting anything for JJ. I like Buehrle and don’t think we should trade him just to trade him. He is over priced for a .500 pitcher/4th or 5th starter, but he can still pitch. Downfall for keeping is we already have Dickey who can occupy that 4th or 5th spot.

    • http://jaysjournal.com/ Michael Wray

      @ryanmueller:disqus is it bad that my favourite part of your comment is the Dickey low blow?

      • RyanMueller

        Not at all. Dickey was brought in to be the ace of the staff and he has not delivered. These two guys have provided the jays staff with stability and have been able to eat some innings to allow gibby to rest an over worked bullpen, but AA paid a steep price for a late 30′s innings eater.

  • brad

    The only way I see Beuhrle or JJ moving is as part of a much bigger deal. I think trading Lind would be a good idea as $7 mil(his team option next year) could land you an upgrade in a reasonably deep 1b market. I think the Jays could target a starter from a team with a lot of pitching depth(maybe Washington or St. Louis) using a package centered around Lind. In that scenario, I could see Beuhrle being included to ease the other team’s pitching loss provided the Jays pay most of his contract. Other than that I don’t see it.

    I think you sell Drabek a little bit short here. He was by no means an ace, but last year he did a really solid job. Outside of the game he got hurt in, he only gave up more than 3 earned runs twice in 13 starts. Current Blue Jays starters who have accomplished such a stretch this season?….0!

    • http://jaysjournal.com/ Michael Wray

      Great point about Drabek… if he put up numbers like that this year he’d probably be considered this staff’s “ace”