Sitting in fourth place in the AL East and just barely out of a Wild Card spot, the Toronto Blue Jays are in a strange place as the trade deadline moves closer. As of right now, the club doesn't appear to be ready for a fire sale (which, to some, should be obvious), but the firm label of "buyer" hasn't really been thrown around much.
As always, the Blue Jays' front office has been fairly tight-lipped about any potential plans. However, Ross Atkins, the club's general manager, spoke to the media before Wednesday's game against the Giants and finally provided some sort of update on his deadline plans.
"The obvious area would be adding a starting pitcher. We need to balance that with the progress of Alek Manoah and Hyun Jin Ryu."
Separately, Atkins said that he firmly believes that Manoah will be back with the big league club at some point this season, which is certainly interesting. After Manoah's disastrous outing in the FCL, it's a curious statement to make, but it's nice to see that he is remaining optimistic about his young and still-promising hurler.
Even if Manoah is not able to make contributions to the big league rotation anytime soon, the return of Ryu is getting closer and closer. The longtime L.A. Dodger is working his way back from Tommy John surgery and could be ready to be activated sometime in late July or early August.
However, Atkins' quote suggests that an outside addition could be the answer. He told the media that rolling with a four-man rotation is not a sustainable plan and that a move will need to be made. This is pure speculation, but starters like Jack Flaherty, Eduardo Rodríguez, Michael Lorenzen, Lucas Giolito or even Shane Bieber are all interesting names to keep an eye on as we get closer to the deadline.