Toronto Blue Jays News

Blue Jays trade rumour roundup: Gray, Santana scouting and Jay Bruce

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Jun 21, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Sonny Gray (54) delivers a pitch against the Milwaukee Brewers during the first inning at the Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 21, 2016; Oakland, CA, USA; Oakland Athletics starting pitcher Sonny Gray (54) delivers a pitch against the Milwaukee Brewers during the first inning at the Oakland Coliseum. Mandatory Credit: Neville E. Guard-USA TODAY Sports /
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The surging Blue Jays are approaching the 2016 MLB trade deadline as buyers, though several internal variables will determine just how aggressive they are

There are two silly seasons in Major League Baseball: Free agency, and the month leading up to the July 31st trade deadline.

The coming three-plus weeks will be stocked with rumours big and small, fact and fluff. There have already been a handful of noteworthy deals, most recently the Boston Red Sox addition of former Blue Jays second-baseman Aaron Hill. The past two days have also brought a handful of Blue Jays notes that may, or may not, be relevant for the weeks ahead.

First came Wednesday’s mention from Susan Slusser that the Jays were among several teams scouting starting pitchers Sonny Gray and Ervin Santana.

“Many contenders, including the Blue Jays, Royals, Orioles, Marlins and Cardinals, had scouts in attendance looking at Santana and Gray,” Slusser wrote. “Toronto needs pitching and has become a regular trade partner with the A’s in recent years, but it’s a stretch to imagine Oakland sending a potential Cy Young-type starter to the Blue Jays less than two years after trading 2015 AL MVP Josh Donaldson to Toronto.”

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The final note holds some real importance as Donaldson powers towards another season of heavy MVP consideration. Gray has been a name popular among Blue Jays fans since last season, and in many ways parallels Donaldson from Oakland’s side of the table.

Gray comes with team control, making him much more than a simple rental, and is not scheduled to hit free agency for the first time until 2020. He would be the best pitcher available, however, and this would offer Oakland an opportunity to maximize his value before he gets expensive through arbitration. Gray will need to do his part too, as his ERA currently sits at 5.16.

In terms of organizational philosophy, a situation like Gray could make sense to Toronto as they would at least be receiving multiple years of control for their prospect capital. Regardless, don’t rush out for your Sonny Gray home jersey.

Santana, who the Blue Jays once (allegedly) “passed around a hat” for prior to him signing with Atlanta in 2014, has been fairly average since arriving in Minnesota last season. He is due $13.5 million in each of the next two seasons before a $14 million team option in 2018 ($1M buyout). Is that worth it for a 33-year-old with a career 4.16 ERA?

The other “report” worth touching on came from Jon Heyman, who mentions Jay Bruce as a possibility for the Blue Jays if they seek a lefty power bat. Bruce and Michael Saunders were originally part of a three-way deal that fell apart at the last moment prior to the season.

“The Blue Jays may still consider left-handed power,” Heyman said. “And while they probably wouldn’t repeat Michael Saunders for Jay Bruce, they may still be the team most likely for Bruce.”

A positional fit could be present too, of course, if the turf toe injury to Jose Bautista lingers beyond the end of July, though Bruce’s defence has been poor enough to limit him to a 0.0 WAR despite 18 home runs and a 121 wRC+.

This represents more of a suggestion than a report of concrete interest at this time, which is something the month of July will be weighed down with quickly.

Next: Recent Blue Jays trades: Where are they now?

— Stay tuned to Jays Journal throughout the month of July for all of the latest news and updates. You can follow on Twitter at @JaysJournal, and follow Keegan Matheson @KeeganMatheson.

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