The bullpen was one of the Blue Jays’ few strengths in 2013 and yet the relief corps has gotten off to a terrible start this year, Sportsnet.ca’s Shi Davidi writes. Last night’s blowup against the Royals was only the latest in a series of late-game meltdowns for the bullpen, which has a cumulative 5.08 ERA that ranks as the third-worst in the majors. Here’s some more news from Toronto…
- Cubs scout Dave Littlefield was in Buffalo last night to watch Marcus Stroman‘s six no-hit innings for the Triple-A Bisons, Davidi reports. Chicago reportedly asked for both Stroman and Aaron Sanchez as part of a trade package for Jeff Samardzija in the offseason, a deal that the Jays rejected out of hand. Littlefield’s presence could indicate a continued interest on the Cubs’ behalf or, as Davidi notes, simple due diligence.
- Steve Pearce turned down the Jays’ waiver claim on his services in order to return to the Orioles because he could receive everyday playing time in Baltimore, according to Davidi. Pearce will likely receive regular work at first base for the O’s while Chris Davis is out with an oblique injury. The Blue Jays were looking at Pearce to start against left-handers as part of a DH platoon with Adam Lind.
- If the Jays aren’t in contention by midseason, Richard Griffin of the Toronto Star notes that Mark Buehrle would likely have the most trade value of any Blue Jays starting pitcher. The veteran southpaw has been the Jays’ best starter in 2014 and, as Griffin notes, Buehrle’s consistent track record means that a trade partner knows exactly what they’re getting. Moving Buehrle would also free up payroll space for the Jays — he is owed approximately $15MM over the rest of 2014 and is owed $19MM in 2015.
- Also from Griffin’s piece, he interviews Jays assistant GM Tony LaCava about several prospects at all levels of Toronto’s minor league system.