Blue Jays: Five paths to getting a top of the rotation starting pitcher

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 04: Pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu #99 of the Los Angeles Dodgers throws against the Colorado Rockies during the fourth inning at Dodger Stadium on September 4, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 04: Pitcher Hyun-Jin Ryu #99 of the Los Angeles Dodgers throws against the Colorado Rockies during the fourth inning at Dodger Stadium on September 4, 2019 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images) /
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NEW YORK, NEW YORK – SEPTEMBER 14: Hyun-Jin Ryu #99 of the Los Angeles Dodgers pitches during the third inning against the New York Mets at Citi Field on September 14, 2019 in New York City. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /

Free Agency is still an option

Despite the fact that top-of-the-market arms like Gerrit Cole, Stephen Strasburg, and Zack Wheeler have all found new homes, there is still value to be found on the free agent market.

If the Blue Jays are looking to add a starter that could lead the rest of their assembled group, they’re arguably looking at three remaining options. The first would be Hyun-Jin Ryu, and all signs point to the Blue Jays being in pursuit of the Korean southpaw. That said, now that both Los Angeles teams missed out on Cole and Strasburg, chances are the Ryu market is going to heat up a bit before he signs anywhere.

If Ryu isn’t an option, the Blue Jays could make a bid on two other left-handers in Madison Bumgarner and/or Dallas Keuchel. The former has been garnering heavy interest around the league and there haven’t really been any reports linking him to the Blue Jays at all, despite the statements from the front office that they’ve checked in with pretty much any available starter. That’s likely a sign that Bumgarner is either going to return to San Francisco, or sign with a more immediate contender.

Keuchel could be a different case though, and he’s one starter I’ve had my eye on since free agency began. He profiles as a soft-tossing southpaw, and in today’s MLB game that’s not really what most teams are looking for. That said, I feel like Keuchel could be had for a reasonable contract, at least relative to the 35-36 million dollar deals being thrown around, and he has a solid pedigree. He also strikes me as someone whose skills shouldn’t erode all that much as he ages.

Beyond those three, it’s debatable if there is anyone else that is a slam-dunk to have a better season than what the Blue Jays already have. There are solid gambles to be had for certain, but I feel like the Blue Jays don’t really need any more mid to back-end starters at this point. If they’re not going to add an obvious rotation topper from free agency, then perhaps they should turn to another avenue.

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