The Royals have already made several additions, but they have engaged with the Blue Jays on a pair of starting pitching targets, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today (Twitter link). Kansas City is discussing both lefty J.A. Happ and righty Marco Estrada with Toronto, which just agreed to send southpaw Francisco Liriano to the Astros.
Happ, 34, is certainly enjoying more success at the moment among the two pitchers under consideration. He owns a 4.15 ERA with 8.1 K/9 and 2.7 BB/9 over his 78 frames on the year. Happ isn’t exactly cheap — he’s owed $13MM this year and next — but has been well worth the salary commitment for his production. That additional year of control, though, has led to prior suggestions that Toronto isn’t all that interested in moving him.
As for Estrada, he has been tied to the Royals for some time. While he’s punching out 9.6 batters per nine on strikes, the veteran has stumbled to a 5.43 ERA — though he has also been healthy, with 114 1/3 innings on his ledger. The pending free agent is playing on a $14.5MM salary this year, and the Jays would surely need to hold onto a decent chunk of what’s left (or add an underperforming contract in return) to make a deal.