Toronto Blue Jays – MLB Trade Rumors 2019-06-26T03:29:40Z WordPress Steve Adams <![CDATA[Blue Jays Notes: Stroman, Giles, Gurriel]]> 2019-06-25T14:23:52Z 2019-06-25T14:23:52Z Blue Jays righty Marcus Stroman has come to terms with the fact that he’s a near-certainty to be traded and told reporters this week that he’s not expecting the team to make any final efforts to sign him long-term (link via Bill Ladson of Though he tries not to focus on trade rumblings, Stroman acknowledged that he can’t avoid all of the talk, implying that as a New York native, the frequent connections between him and the Yankees have been on his radar. “I’m from New York and I’m a New York boy,” said Stroman. “That kind of says everything for itself.” Stroman noted that he loves pitching in the spotlight of Yankee Stadium, even if the Yankees’ lineup tends to be “brutal” for opposing pitchers. Sportsnet’s Arden Zwelling also has comments from Stroman on the possibility of a trade and the manner in which he tries to tune out trade chatter, knowing it’s not something he can control. In 100 2/3 innings this season, Stroman has posted a tidy 3.04 ERA with 6.9 K/9, 2.7 BB/9, 0.8 HR/9 and a 57.9 percent ground-ball rate. He’s earning $7.4MM in 2019 and is arbitration-eligible for the final time this winter.

More out of Toronto…

  • Closer Ken Giles came to the Blue Jays with a questionable clubhouse reputation, but The Athletic’s John Lott writes (subscription required) that Giles has quickly changed the narrative, emerging as a leader and mentor to less-experienced pitchers. First-year manager Charlie Montoyo even acknowledged a bit of surprise regarding Giles’ demeanor, telling Lott: “You gotta give him all the credit. He’ll do anything for the team. I didn’t know he was like that. I saw what you guys saw from Houston and all that stuff.” Freddy Galvis, who was on the Phillies when Giles made his MLB debut there, suggested that while he never had an issue with Giles, it’s also obvious that the right-hander has matured since they were last teammates. Giles acknowledges that fatherhood, among other factors, has changed his perspective on life. The closer plainly states that he loves it in Toronto and would prefer to stay there, but he’s also keenly aware that a trade is not only possible but likely. Giles, who is controlled through the 2020 season, has a 1.33 ERA and a 47-to-8 K/BB ratio through 27 innings with the Blue Jays so far in 2019.
  • Zwelling also takes a close look at what has been a near-seamless transition to left field for Lourdes Gurriel Jr. The converted infielder has played just 28 MLB games there (plus another seven in the minors) but already looks comfortable in his new environs. Gurriel has racked up five outfield assists through just 241 innings while impressing the coaching staff and teammates alike with his outfield play. “Lourdes is unreal out there,” said Stroman of his teammate. “Man, I can’t put it into words. He looks like he’s been playing left field for years. It’s pretty shocking. And it’s exciting.” Meanwhile, Gurriel has somewhat quietly been on a tear at the plate as well. Since being recalled from Triple-A on May 24, he’s raked at a .330/.372/.679 clip with 10 homers, seven doubles and a triple in 121 plate appearances.
Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Latest On Bo Bichette's Promotion Timeline]]> 2019-06-24T17:50:39Z 2019-06-24T05:36:01Z
  • With Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Cavan Biggio now in the majors, speculation is swirling in Toronto about when Bo Bichette could make his Blue Jays debut.  A consensus top-12 prospect in the sport prior to the season, Bichette has a .256/.316/.453 slash line and three homers over 96 Triple-A plate appearances in 2019, while missing over six weeks due to a fractured hand.  As a result, Jays GM Ross Atkins told’s Ben Nicholson-Smith that Bichette still needs a bit more seasoning in his first stint at the Triple-A level.  “We’d really like to see some time in triple-A and have him get his legs under him and have a good strong foundation before we have that discussion [about a promotion],” Atkins said.  For comparison’s sake, Nicholson-Smith notes that Biggio had 174 PA and Guerrero 162 PA for Triple-A Buffalo before getting the call to the Show.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Aaron Sanchez’s Diminishing Trade Value]]> 2019-06-24T16:55:43Z 2019-06-24T01:14:05Z Trade rumors have swirled around both Aaron Sanchez and Marcus Stroman for months, though teams considered the Blue Jays’ asking price for either young right-hander to be “uncomfortably high” during the offseason.  The Jays were thought to still be looking for a premium return in any deal, despite the fact that both Sanchez and Stroman were coming off inconsistent, injury-shortened seasons.  The prevailing wisdom was that the Jays would be counting on both pitchers to be healthy and effective in the first half of 2019, paving the way for the duo to become prime trade chips at the July 31st deadline.

    For Stroman, it’s been all systems go in amassing a 3.04 ERA over 100 1/3 innings, including his six shutout frames against the Red Sox today.  For Sanchez, however, his first 16 starts have only led to more frustration.  Sanchez has managed only a 5.49 ERA over 78 2/3 innings this season, with ERA indicators (5.48 FIP, 5.30 xFIP, 5.43 SIERA) and hard-contact numbers (a .355 xwOBA just slightly below his .359 wOBA) providing evidence that Sanchez’s struggles are far removed from simple bad luck.

    Counting his abbreviated 2017 season, Sanchez is now in his third straight year of issuing at least five walks per nine innings.  While he has a 50% grounder rate, 16.4% of the fly balls he has allowed have left the yard, leading to an unimpressive 1.4 HR/9.  Never a big strikeout pitcher even at his peak in 2016, Sanchez has a 7.44 K/9 this season.

    Speaking of Sanchez’s 2016 season, that excellent year stands out as the most recent bit of evidence that the right-hander has be a front-of-the-rotation type of starter, as Sanchez has since been consistently hampered by a variety of finger problems.  Between cracked and removed fingernails, surgery to repair a right index finger injured after being caught in a suitcase, and constant blister problems, Sanchez has been fraught with the type of hard-to-diagnose yet persistent injury concerns that would give any team pause.

    As Sanchez told The Athletic’s John Lott (subscription required) last winter, the finger problems led to mechanical issues, as Sanchez tried to adjust for a new grip on the baseball.  This led to a steep increase of Sanchez’s use of a changeup in 2018 that has continued into this season, and Sanchez’s curveball usage has also spiked to a career-high 22.7% this season (his previous high was 16.6% in 2017).

    Though Sanchez is averaging 94mph on his fastball, he has only been throwing it 58.3% of the time in 2019 due to a lack of effectiveness.  As per Fangraphs’ fastball runs above average metric (wFB), Sanchez has gotten less than his heater (-12.1 wFB) than all but two other qualified pitchers in baseball.  Lott noted back in January that Sanchez’s sinker was a plus pitch for him in 2016, yet it has become an increasingly smaller part of the righty’s arsenal — after throwing it 54.9% of the time in 2016, that total dropped to 37.9% last season and 36.3% this year.

    With all this in mind, Sanchez would need a big turn-around over the next four weeks to merit the type of return that the Blue Jays want for a young (Sanchez turns 27 on July 1) pitcher who is controlled through the 2020 season.  Controllable arms have enough value in baseball that the Jays would surely still get some type of decent offers for Sanchez, especially if there’s a team out there that believes it has a fix for Sanchez’s grip problems.

    The trouble is, a “decent” offer would still be seen as a big disappointment for a rebuilding Jays team that hasn’t been able to maximize its return on several of its veterans.  Josh Donaldson would’ve been the Blue Jays’ biggest trade chip of 2018 yet shoulder and calf problems kept the third baseman off the field for much of the season, leaving the Jays forced to settle for just one prospect coming off Tommy John surgery (Julian Merryweather) in a trade with Cleveland.  J.A. Happ was dealt at last year’s trade deadline for Brandon Drury and Billy McKinney, neither of whom have done much for the Jays this season.  Roberto Osuna was sent to Houston last July for a three-pitcher package that included current closer Ken Giles, though Osuna surely would’ve netted more were it not for his off-the-field legal issues.

    A case can be made that Toronto could opt to just hang onto Sanchez to see if he can ever get on track either after July 31st or in the first few months of the 2020 season.  Sanchez is earning only $3.9MM this year and will only get a modest raise on that salary in his final season of arbitration eligibility, plus the Blue Jays will still need some kind of veteran rotation help next year.

    There’s nothing stopping the Jays from continuing to explore trades for Sanchez over the winter, though then the team runs the risk that his rebound performance simply never comes around (or simply won’t come in a Toronto uniform if a change of scenery is required).  The Jays face an increasingly tough decision leading up to the trade deadline, as the team will have to weigh whether settling for a modest trade return for Sanchez now might be preferable than getting even less, or nothing at all, for Sanchez down the road if his underwhelming 2018-19 performance represents his new normal.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Blue Jays Activate Ken Giles From Injured List]]> 2019-06-20T21:33:50Z 2019-06-20T20:16:34Z The Blue Jays have activated closer Ken Giles from the 10-day injured list, as noted by multiple reporters (including Ben Nicholson-Smith of  Righty Justin Shafer was optioned to Triple-A in the corresponding move.

    Giles will end up missing only the 10-day minimum after being sidelined with elbow inflammation.  While obviously the good health news is appreciated by both the player and the club, Giles’ quick return could also have an impact on his status as a trade candidate.  The closer has been almost untouchable over 25 innings this season, with a 1.08 ERA, 6.00 K/BB rate, and a stunning 15.1 K/9.  Between these excellent numbers and the fact that Giles is controllable through the 2020 season, the rebuilding Jays will look to extract a nice return on the right-hander before July 31.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Blue Jays Place Edwin Jackson On IL ]]> 2019-06-19T03:29:33Z 2019-06-19T03:29:33Z
  • The Blue Jays placed right-hander Edwin Jackson on the 10-day injured list Tuesday with a lower back issue, Scott Mitchell of TSN tweets. Jackson has endured a nightmarish season with Toronto, the record 14th major league team for which he has pitched, having notched a 12.43 ERA/9.65 FIP with 6.04 K/9 and 4.26 BB/9 in 25 1/3 innings. The 35-year-old allowed seven earned runs on six hits (three homers) and two walks during a 2/3-inning shellacking at the hands of the Angels on Monday. For now, Jackson’s IL placement will stave off a potential designation for assignment.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Marcus Stroman Discusses Future]]> 2019-06-19T02:52:34Z 2019-06-19T02:51:16Z As those who closely follow the majors know, Blue Jays right-hander Marcus Stroman may not be for long for Toronto. Not only are the Blue Jays rebuilding and out of contention, but Stroman’s team control is dwindling, making him a logical trade chip leading up to the July 31 deadline.

    The 28-year-old Stroman discussed his future with Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet, Gregor Chisholm of and other reporters Tuesday, saying the Jays have not pursued a contract extension. As such, even though Stroman loves Toronto and “everything about” Canada, he realizes his time there may be winding down.

    “It doesn’t seem like I’m going to be signed here to a long-term deal. It’s just something you have to come to terms with,” Stroman said.

    Stroman has been a Blue Jay since they chose him 22nd in the 2012 draft. The 5-foot-8 hurler ascended to the majors in 2014 and has since been one of the faces of the Toronto franchise. Stroman owns a 3.83 ERA/3.62 FIP with 7.22 K/9 and 2.56 BB/9 in 752 2/3 innings dating back to his debut. While he’s not a strikeout pitcher, Stroman’s a worm-burning wizard whose groundball rate – 59.2 percent – ranks second among starters since he initially came up.

    So far in 2019, which may go down as his last year in Toronto, Stroman’s on pace for one of his best seasons. After allowing three earned runs in seven innings during a loss to the Angels on Tuesday, Stroman carries a stellar 3.23 ERA/3.83 FIP with 6.75 K/9, 2.76 BB/9 and a 58 percent grounder rate through 94 2/3 innings.

    The production Stroman has posted this season is far better than what he managed during a truncated 2018, when multiple injuries limited him to 102 1/3 frames, and will only increase his appeal going up to the deadline. Over the next month-plus, plenty of teams figure to push for Stroman, who’s on a reasonable $7.4MM salary and eligible for arbitration for one more year.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Blue Jays Place Justin Smoak On IL]]> 2019-06-18T19:45:11Z 2019-06-18T19:37:53Z The Blue Jays are placing first baseman Justin Smoak on the 10-day injured list with a quad issue, Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet reports. Toronto has recalled right-hander Justin Shafer from Triple-A Buffalo to take Smoak’s roster spot.

    Toronto’s well out of playoff position, meaning this injury won’t affect its chances of contending. However, depending on the severity, it could put a damper on the Blue Jays’ July 31 trade deadline plans. As an impending free agent on an $8MM salary, Smoak stands out as a potential trade chip for the club. There has been talk of a potential extension for the switch-hitting 32-year-old, though.

    A Blue Jay since 2015, Smoak morphed into a formidable offensive presence in 2017 and has remained a quality producer since. The former top prospect’s numbers are down a bit this year relative to the previous two seasons, but he’s still hitting a solid .226/.364/.423 (115 wRC+) with 12 home runs in 261 plate appearances.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Ken Giles Nearing Activation]]> 2019-06-18T00:57:05Z 2019-06-18T00:57:05Z
  • Blue Jays closer Ken Giles went to the IL on June 12 with right elbow inflammation, an ominous-sounding injury for a pitcher. However, the Blue Jays don’t expect him to stay on the IL past the 10-day mark, manager Charlie Montoyo said Monday (via Scott Mitchell of TSN). That’s especially good news for Toronto considering Giles could be one of the game’s top trade chips leading up to the July 31 deadline. The hard-throwing 28-year-old has upped his stock this season with a brilliant 1.08 ERA/1.18 FIP, 15.12 K/9 against 2.52 BB/9, and 11 saves on 12 chances across 25 innings.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Blue Jays Transfer Elvis Luciano To 60-Day IL]]> 2019-06-17T22:07:37Z 2019-06-17T22:06:59Z The Blue Jays have moved right-hander Elvis Luciano to the 60-day injured list to make room for the activation of fellow righty David Phelps, Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet reports.

    Luciano went to the 10-day IL with a sprained elbow on June 12. His 60-day placement means he won’t be back until around mid-August at the earliest. However, as a Rule 5 pick, it’s unlikely to jeopardize Luciano’s place in the organization. Luciano has about two weeks left before he officially becomes Blue Jays property, notes Nicholson-Smith, who suggests that’s a formality.

    The Blue Jays plucked Luciano from the Royals last December, and he made Toronto’s roster even though he won’t turn 20 until February 2020. The youngest player in the majors, Luciano has pitched to a 6.51 ERA/6.29 FIP with more unintentional walks (23) than strikeouts (22) in 27 2/3 innings. Luciano has also allowed 33 hits, including four home runs, but the rebuilding Blue Jays have ridden out his struggles thus far and appear likely to keep him around going forward.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Blue Jays Activate David Phelps]]> 2019-06-17T20:16:58Z 2019-06-17T20:16:58Z The Blue Jays have activated right-hander David Phelps, Scott Mitchell of reports on Twitter. He’ll take the roster spot of fellow right-hander Justin Shafer.

    Phelps is back in the majors following a lengthy rehab process after Tommy John surgery. He made four scoreless minor-league appearances, compiling four strikeouts without a walk, and was finally deemed ready to get back to the MLB mound for the first time since 2017.

    If all goes well, the Toronto org could have another trade chip on its hands. Phelps inked a one-year, $2.5MM deal that includes a floating-value option. His earning power will depend quite a bit on how frequently he throws, as he can tap incentives and boost the option value based upon the number of appearances he makes this year.

    At his best, Phelps was a quality relief arm, who ran up 142 1/3 innings of 2.72 ERA pitching from 2016 to 2017. That track record earned him this contract in spite of the TJ procedure, but his showing from this point forward will determine his trade value and future in the majors.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Blue Jays Sign Three International Pitchers]]> 2019-06-14T01:48:57Z 2019-06-14T01:47:45Z
  • The Blue Jays signed Cuban right-hander Yosver Zulueta and Dutch right-handers Jiorgeny Casimiri and Sem Robberse in some late additions before the end of the 2018-19 international signing period,’s Shi Davidi writes.  Toronto acquired an extra $1.5MM of bonus pool funds in spring trades of Kendrys Morales to the A’s and Dwight Smith Jr. to the Orioles, which accounted for these three Jays signing (Zulueta received “the majority of their spending room,” as per Davidi).
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Blue Jays Acquire Nick Kingham]]> 2019-06-13T20:33:39Z 2019-06-13T20:16:40Z The Blue Jays have acquired right-hander Nick Kingham from the Pirates for cash considerations, as announced by both teams.  Ryan Tepera has been shifted to the 60-day injured list to create room on Toronto’s roster.

    Kingham was designated for assignment this week, effectively ending almost a full decade in Pittsburgh’s organization for the righty.  Kingham was a fourth-round pick in the 2010 draft and has long been considered one of the more promising arms both in the Bucs’ farm system and in baseball as a whole, appearing on top-100 prospect lists prior to both the 2014 and 2015 seasons.  Tommy John surgery in 2015 delayed his progress, though he still amassed a 3.46 ERA, 3.17 K/BB rate, and 7.7 K/9 over 766 1/3 career innings in the minors, starting 142 of his 147 games.

    As a big-leaguer, Kingham flirted with history when he carried a perfect game into the seventh inning during his MLB debut back on April 29, 2018.  Overall, however, Kingham has struggled to find consistency in the Show, posting a 6.67 ERA that has been boosted by 25 homers allowed over 110 2/3 innings, though he has a higher strikeout rate (8.2 K/9) in the majors than in the minors, albeit over a much smaller sample size.

    Though the Pirates are far from deep in starting pitching options, it seems like they were simply ready to move on from the 27-year-old Kingham, who now gets a chance on a Blue Jays team that is in even more desperate need of rotation help.  The Jays rank at or near the bottom of the league in most starting pitching categories, and will need even more starters on hand to fill the void if/when Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez are both moved before the July 31st trade deadline.  Kingham could get a shot in the rotation immediately (which could mean the end of struggling veteran Edwin Jackson’s time in Toronto) or he could throw out of the bullpen as a long man until a trade or until the Jays decide a change needs to be made.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Blue Jays Place Ken Giles On Injured List]]> 2019-06-12T21:50:01Z 2019-06-12T21:50:46Z 4:50pm: Giles doesn’t expect to miss more than the 10-day minimum, tweets Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.

    3:24pm: Blue Jays closer Ken Giles is headed to the 10-day injured list due to inflammation in his right elbow, per a team announcement. The Jays also announced that right-hander Clay Buchholz was moved to the 60-day IL to clear a 40-man roster spot for righty Jordan Romano, whose previously reported promotion from Triple-A is now official.

    It’s a blow to the Blue Jays on the field but also an unwelcome development given that Giles is among the team’s best trade chips as the July 31 trade deadline looms. There’s no indication that Giles will require an especially lengthy absence at this point, but any sort of recent elbow issue will be cause for some degree of concern when teams are discussing Giles as a trade candidate next month.

    The 28-year-old Giles has been nearly automatic in 2019, pitching 25 innings with a 1.08 ERA and a gaudy 42-to-7 K/BB ratio. He’s earning $6.3MM in 2019 and is all the more appealing to contending teams due to the fact that he’s controlled through the 2020 season.

    In Giles’ absence, the Jays seem likely to turn to Joe Biagini in save opportunities. He’s worked the eighth inning on 17 occasions in 2019 and is tied for the team lead in holds (seven). Daniel Hudson would be another option should the club prefer a more veteran alternative, but he’s averaging nearly five walks per nine innings pitched.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Blue Jays To Promote Jordan Romano]]> 2019-06-12T17:09:55Z 2019-06-12T17:09:55Z The Blue Jays will select the contract of righty Jordan Romano, according to Shi Davidi of It’s not yet clear how the team will create the necessary roster space, which includes a 40-man spot.

    Romano, 26, is a 2014 tenth-rounder who hasn’t yet cracked the majors. That’s not to say he wasn’t on the MLB radar. The Canadian hurler was selected in the Rule 5 draft last winter, with the Rangers (who had acquired his rights from the White Sox) ultimately deciding to send him back to Toronto.

    Through 31 frames at Triple-A this year, Romano carries only a 6.10 ERA. But most of the damage came during his early work as a starter and in one abysmal performance in mid-May. More importantly, Romano has trended up in the strikeout department, posting 12.5 K/9 against 3.8 BB/9 on the year.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Blue Jays Sign 2nd-Rounder Kendall Williams]]> 2019-06-11T05:38:40Z 2019-06-11T05:38:40Z
  • The Blue Jays have signed 20 picks, including second-rounder Kendall Williams (No. 52), Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet reports. The high school right-hander from Florida will get $1,547,500, which is more than the recommended slot value of his selection ($1,403,200), per Jim Callis of Callis and colleague Jonathan Mayo ranked Williams as the draft’s 54th-best prospect entering the proceedings, calling the 6-foot-6 hurler “the quintessential projectable high school right-hander.” Despite Williams’ size, he doesn’t have much trouble throwing strikes, according to Callis and Mayo, who note the hurler’s able to touch 94 mph with regularity and suggest he has serious upside. Williams had committed to Vanderbilt before the draft, but his signing will take him out of the Commodores’ plans.
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