The Blue Jays rumor mill doesn’t sleep, with the latest report linking them to discussions with the Milwaukee Brewers
In the wee hours of Monday night and/or Tuesday morning, word out of Nashville was that the Blue Jays have talked with the Brewers about a potential deal. Milwaukee hadn’t initially been pegged a team scrambling to unload arms, but their roster does offer several pieces that could be both appealing to another market and beneficial to the Brewers retooling after a 68-94 season.
This comes on the heels of another midnight report from Chris Cotillo that the Blue Jays are still looking to add starting pitching. Ross Atkins had said in his introductory press conference that the current group is enough to be successful as is, but frankly, what else was he supposed to say?
Taking a look at the Brewers roster, they do offer some young upside arms in Jimmy Nelson and Taylor Jungmann who seem more along the lines of a past Mark Shapiro trade target, but dealing from youth and potential seems fairly counterintuitive for Milwaukee right now. You could also throw in names like Jorge Lopez or Zach Davies, who enjoyed upper-minors success before getting his first taste of MLB action in 2015.
I’m of the thinking that the trade route would not be the most cost-effective way to add competition for the number five role, though, as that could be easier accomplished through lower-level free agency without surrendering assets. Perhaps Wily Peralta would make more sense as a bounce-back candidate, as the 26-year old Dominican is entering his first year of arbitration eligibility ($2.8 million projected salary).
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Peralta’s 2015 was cut short after 108.2 innings due to an oblique strain, but he struggled t0 a 4.72 ERA while seeing his strikeout totals dip. This was coming off a much more successful 2014 campaign in which he established himself as a middle-of-the-rotation arm with 198.2 innings of 3.53 ERA ball. This was good for a FanGraphs WAR of 1.8 and, if healthy, should more accurately represent his talent level than his more recent performances.
The appeal of Peralta to the Blue Jays would be his ground ball tendency, with a career MLB rate of 52.3% that would transfer well into the Rogers Centre. Looking past the rotation and into the bullpen, Toronto could also have varying degrees of interest in several price levels with arms like Michael Blazek, Will Smith, Corey Knebel or old friend Jeremy Jeffress.
If there’s one thing worth taking away from this as the report currently stands, it’s that Toronto seems semi-serious about continuing to add to their starting rotation. Hopefully any potential addition will come above the level of added competition for the number five job, but we’ll keep you updated as it unfolds.
Buckle up and enjoy Day 2 of the MLB Winter Meetings…