The Blue Jays have one of the best starters (Marcus Stroman) and one of the best relievers (Ken Giles) available on this summer’s trade market, and TSN’s Scott Mitchell tweets that teams have been expressing interest in acquiring both in the same package. Both the Twins and the Yankees have reached out to Toronto to express interest in a single trade to net both pitchers, per Mitchell, who cautions that the organization’s preference may be to maximize the return by orchestrating separate trades.
Minnesota’s interest in Giles (and relief help in general) has already been reported. But for all the help the Twins could use in the ’pen, the rotation is also a potential area of focus. The wheels have come off the Martin Perez project of late, as the lefty has been hammered for a 5.37 ERA with 7.7 K/9, 4.0 BB/9, 0.85 HR/9 and a 54.6 percent grounder rate across his past 10 starts. And while Michael Pineda has improved in recent weeks as he distances himself from 2017 Tommy John surgery, he also figures to have his workload more carefully managed late in the season.
The Yankees are a similarly logical landing spot for Stroman. Luis Severino has yet to pitch this season due to multiple injuries, while each of James Paxton, Domingo German and CC Sabathia has spent time on the injured list. Left-hander J.A. Happ has struggled as well (5.02 ERA, 5.35 FIP in 89 12/3 innings) — unable to replicate a quartet of strong seasons from 2015-18.
Stroman recently had a bit of a health scare, exiting his last outing against the Royals due to a pectoral cramp. His final start prior to the All-Star break was skipped, but Stroman isn’t expected to miss time beyond that. If the issue is as minor as it appears to be, Stroman’s value wouldn’t be likely to take a hit. It seems quite likely that Stroman will be wearing a new uniform come Aug. 1, although Atkins danced around the matter without addressing the likelihood of a deal in a recent meeting with the Toronto media (link via Shi Davidi of Sportsnet):
I would say this: Marcus has put himself in an incredible position throughout his career, not just over the last four months. He has been durable. He has performed at an exceptionally high rate. He’s been one of the better pitchers in baseball over the last three years and because of that he is in a great position for his future with the Toronto Blue Jays and there are 29 other teams that are thinking the same way, that they would love to have someone that has been durable and has been productive. We’ll see. With another year of control for us, that’s attractive to us, that’s extremely attractive to other teams, as well. He’s put himself in a remarkable spot and earned all of that respect.
As for Giles, he may appear to be somewhat of a luxury for a deep Yankees relief corps, but it’s also true that the ’pen hasn’t been as dominant as many might have expected. Aroldis Chapman and Tommy Kahnle have thrived, and Chad Green looks reborn since a brief demotion to Triple-A in late April. Adam Ottavino has a sub-2.00 ERA but 6.1 BB/9 mark. Zack Britton’s bat-missing ability still hasn’t returned, as his 6.3 K/9 mark isn’t much higher than his 4.9 BB/9. Jonathan Holder had to be optioned to the minors after struggling to keep his ERA under 7.00. Dellin Betances, like Severino, hasn’t pitched in 2019.
Either Stroman or Giles on his own would have a fairly notable asking price, so adding both at once may very well teeter on exorbitant. The Jays seem likely to move both, though, and they’re also expected to gauge interest in Justin Smoak, Freddy Galvis, Aaron Sanchez, Eric Sogard, Daniel Hudson and other veterans as their rebuilding efforts continue.