If we consider Cole and Strasberg to be the top-tier, let’s have a look at who could make up the second tier, and specifically who the Blue Jays could make a serious run at.
Going back to mlbtraderumors.com’s predictions, they aren’t always correct with the salaries or the locations, but it gives us a good idea of team needs, and a potential asking price. Speaking of asking price, the four years and 72 milliion for Madison Bumgarner, or the three years and 54 million for Hyun-Jin Ryu could both be viewed as doable, but they’re probably not likely. They’re likely both looking for more of a win-now situation, even if Bumgarner could be young enough to make an impact on the Blue Jays’ current rebuild. The same could probably be said for the 36-year-old Cole Hamels, who will also hit the open market and is a long shot to land in a place like Toronto at this stage of his career.
Even if the predictions sheet doesn’t show the Blue Jays as serious contenders, I would think they’ll at least be asking about any potential mutual interest from guys like Zack Wheeler (5 years,100 million) , Jake Odorizzi (3 years, 51 million), Dallas Keuchel (3 years, 39 million), and maybe even Michael Pineda (2 years, 22 million). While I don’t think they’ll pay 100 million for Wheeler, any of these predicted salaries could fit in Toronto’s plans for 2020, or for the long-term future.
Assuming they pass on that kind of ask for Wheeler, three years at 13-17 for solid middle-of-the-rotation veteran should be a doable number if they like the fit enough. That said, I personally think that outside of Wheeler and maybe Odorizzi, that the Blue Jays may pass on this tier of starting options as well, and even those two will come attached to draft pick compensation, which doesn’t help.
I could be wrong, but let’s see what the next level has for potential rotation upgrades.