Even after last night’s loss to the Detroit Tigers, the Toronto Blue Jays sit 12.5 games back of the New York Yankees in the AL East but are first in the AL Wild Card followed by the Seattle Mariners and Tampa Bay Rays. Cleveland and Baltimore are just outside the playoff picture and the race to the postseason will most likely come down to the wire later this season.
Seattle pulled off a big move last night by acquiring starting pitcher Luis Castillo from the Cincinnati Reds in exchange for a massive haul of prospects including Mariners #1 Noelvi Marte, #3 Edwin Arroyo, #5 Levi Stoudt, and unranked Andrew Moore. Castillo was one pitcher that could have fit in well with the Blue Jays given their need for an additional starter with Hyun Jin Ryu out for the remainder of the season but with him heading to the Mariners, it is now going to make things complicated for the Jays if they end up meeting the Mariners in the postseason.
With Castillo no longer available, the Blue Jays could still acquire a starter but the market thins out quite a bit following the former Reds right-hander.
Frankie Montas on the Oakland Athletics is the next intriguing starter given his additional year of control but comes with some risk after missing two starts earlier this month with a shoulder injury. He hasn’t pitched too deep in his last two starts but has only allowed two earned runs through eight innings with nine strikeouts.
With Luis Castillo now off to Seattle, the Blue Jays will have to look for other options if they want to improve the starting rotation before the deadline.
After Montas, the remaining starters that could be dealt before the trade deadline is:
- Noah Syndergaard (Angels)
- Jose Quintana (Pirates)
- Madison Bumgarner (Diamondbacks)
- Zack Greinke (Royals)
- Chad Kuhl (Rockies)
There is also fellow Reds starter Tyler Mahle but he is unvaccinated, so it is unlikely the Blue Jays will be trading for the right-hander. Martin Perez on the Rangers is also an interesting arm but it’s unlikely Texas trades him given the current roster and standings.
Each pitcher has its pros and cons in regards to performance, contract status, etc and if I had a choice, I would go with Frankie Montas (the obvious first choice in my opinion) as option #1, followed by Jose Quintana as option #2.
Montas has the additional year of control, which will cost the Jays some additional prospects to get a deal done but would be a great addition to the Jays rotation with his 3.18 ERA on the year which completes the rotation for this year and next.
With Quintana, the Jays would be taking a bit of a risk hoping that the veteran can continue his strong run with Pittsburgh this season with a new club. This year, the southpaw owns a 3.70 ERA through 97.1 innings with a 7.9 K/9 and a 2.7 BB/9 through 19 starts. He’s been able to keep the ball in the yard (0.6 HR/9) and is free agent eligible this offseason after signing a one-year $2 million deal with the Pirates.
With the bar set pretty high for Castillo, the Athletics price tag for Montas is likely to also be high given multiple suitors and with how well he is pitching this year with the additional year of contract control. The Blue Jays don’t appear to be high on the Juan Soto trade sweepstakes and with a need for pitching, a starter like Montas would be an excellent fit but the club could go after other options like Chad Kuhl or Noah Syndergaard if they prefer a rental type pitcher.