Blue Jays: Potential pitching depth targets ahead of the trade deadline

Jun 6, 2023; Bronx, New York, USA; Chicago White Sox relief pitcher Liam Hendriks (31) follows
Jun 6, 2023; Bronx, New York, USA; Chicago White Sox relief pitcher Liam Hendriks (31) follows / Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
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With less than two months before the August 1st trade deadline, the Toronto Blue Jays front office is already engaged in talks to improve their pitching depth. Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith noted Saturday that that the Jays are already looking outside of the organization for pitching help.

Alek Manoah’s demotion opens up a slot in the rotation, and while the early returns Saturday on Trevor Richards and Bowden Francis filling in on an emergency basis were good, if there are more reliable arms available on the trade market than what the Blue Jays currently have as depth, they need to explore those options. Hyun Jin Ryu’s return from Tommy John surgery is still potentially months away, while Mitch White, Thomas Hatch and other 40-man depth arms don’t look like near-term solutions.

And bullpen depth remains a serious concern, with Adam Cimber’s implosion in a high leverage situation on Saturday, surrendering a grand slam to Twins shortstop Carlos Correa; and, Yimi García’s rapid decline this year to a 5.53 ERA in 27.2 innings with a below league average ERA+ of only 74 and two blown saves. Chad Green has yet to start a rehab assignment as he also recovers from Tommy John surgery.

In the last three years of the current competitive window, General Manager Ross Atkins has been a buyer at the deadline, and has added pitchers Robbie Ray, Taijuan Walker, Ross Stripling, Adam Cimber, Trevor Richards, Bowden Francis, Brad Hand, Joakim Soria, José Berríos, Foster Griffin, Anthony Bass, Zach Pop and Mitch White in midseason deals ahead of the trade deadline.

What Trade Chips Are Left?

Apart from bench pieces like Cavan Biggio and Santiago Espinal, who have both struggled season-to-date, there’s not much in the way of talent on the 26-man roster the Jays could trade for pitching help. Which means they’ll likely have to dip into their farm system again, and trade prospects for MLB-quality pitching.

Assuming top Blue Jays prospect Ricky Tiedemann is untouchable, that means prospects like Spencer Horowitz, Addison Barger, Otto Lopez, Hagen Danner, Hayden Juenger, Yosver Zulueta, Orelvis Martinez, Bowden Francis, Adam Kloffenstein, Chad Dallas, Trenton Wallace, Sem Robberse, Rainer Nunez, Rafael Lantigua and Damiano Palmegiani could be traded. Could interested teams also ask for some of the Jays four 2022 top 100 amateur draft picks — Brandon Barriera, Cade Doughty, Josh Kasevich and Tucker Toman?