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

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