With the trade deadline approaching on Aug 31, the Blue Jays are in search of help for their starting rotation, and the Pirates could have just the thing.
Don’t be surprised if the rumour mill has the Blue Jays written all over it for the next week, and for excited fans, that’s a very good thing.
The young team is arguably still in the early stages of a rebuild, but due to the strange circumstances of the shortened 2020 campaign, they find themselves currently sitting in a playoff spot at 14-13. Instead of being expected sellers, the Jays could actually be looking to improve their roster in order to make a post-season push. And with a recent rash of injuries to their starting rotation, that would be the obvious place to look for an upgrade.
To that end, there is some reported interest in a pair of Pittsburgh Pirates starting pitchers, at least according to MLB.com’s Jon Morosi. The Pirates are well out of the playoff race again this year, and are essentially working on a rebuild of their own. With that in mind, it sounds like they’re willing to make one or both of Trevor Williams and Chad Kuhl available on the trade market, for the right price of course.
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According to Morosi, neither pitcher should command a tremendous haul, and both could be considered as upside plays from the Jays’ front office. That said, both pitchers come with contract control beyond this year, which is always of value to any team, and something that Ross Atkins frequently talks about when looking to improve the roster.
Williams had a rough 2019 campaign after seemingly breaking out in 2018, but he’s rebounded fairly well so far this season. He’s posted a 3.70 ERA and a 1.356 WHIP across five starts and 24.1 innings. With two more seasons of arbitration eligibility after this one, there could be some interest there, especially if the Blue Jays buy in to his bounce back. He was very good in 2018 with a 14-11 record, a 3.11 ERA and a 1.178 WHIP, making 31 starts and throwing 170.2 frames that year, so there’s certainly upside.
As for Kuhl, he’s been putting together a nice comeback season of his own after having Tommy John surgery and missing all of last year, and has posted a 2.84 ERA and a 1.00 WHIP across 19 innings so far, including three starts and two relief appearances. He also has two years of arbitration eligibility left and is even cheaper than Williams, but he doesn’t have quite as good of a resume, and is coming off a major surgery.
It’s entirely possible that the Blue Jays could look to acquire one, or even both of these starters to help bolster their depleted rotation. With Matt Shoemaker, Nate Pearson, and Trent Thornton all on the sidelines, you can’t fault the front office for wanting to add some depth. That said, I hope to see them “go big or go home”, and I’m not sure that Williams or Kuhl would qualify. Then again, I’ve been wrong before.
Either way, it’s sure nice to talk about the Blue Jays as buyers again, and hopefully they’ll be able to improve the roster and make a push for a playoff spot.