Forgetting Matt Garza: 6 Sleeper Starters the Blue Jays Should Pursue

Jeff WahlCorrespondent IJune 13, 2012

Forgetting Matt Garza: 6 Sleeper Starters the Blue Jays Should Pursue

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    The Matt Garza trade rumors are so hot right now.  I'm talking Hansel hot.  And a popular destination is the Toronto Blue Jays.

    Jon Heyman of CBS Sports is just one source of this scuttlebutt.

    As a Blue Jays fan, no thanks. 

    What's all the excitement about for a guy with only three seasons of 10 or more wins, with 15 his career benchmark?  Garza is also supposed to be a big time strikeout pitcher, yet he's never surpassed 200 and only twice had more than 150.  He's built his hype on a mirage of nice ERA and WHIP ratios, but high pitch counts take him out of games early and tax his team's bullpen.

    He's a No. 3 pitcher on a playoff team, no more.  If we are going to gouge our farm system to make a play, let's save our prospects to trade for legit talent.

    Perhaps like these six guys?

RHP Jacob Turner: Detroit Tigers

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    Height: 6' 5", Weight: 210 lb.

    Age: 21

    Jacob Turner has little, if anything, left to prove in the minors.  Unfortunately for him, the Tigers are happy with their rotation and barring injury, Turner will likely play the majority of 2012 in Triple-A Toledo.

    However, currently four games under .500 yet only five games back of the AL Central leading Chicago White Sox, Detroit could be tempted to move their prized prospect in exchange for some offense.

    Edwin Encarnacion is in the midst of a career season and would seemingly fit perfectly in the Detroit lineup.  Although Edwin would mostly DH, he could spell both Miguel Cabrera and Prince Fielder at third and first base, respectively.  This would also allow the Tigers to use Brennan Boesch and Delmon Young as a lefty/righty platoon in the outfield.

    Meanwhile, Toronto would add a young pitcher to the rotation who compares well to former St. Louis Cardinals ace, Matt Morris. 

    With his electric mid-90's two-seam fastball, anvil-like low 90's four-seam fastball and developing curveball, Turner should become the 200 inning, top of the rotation horse that every team craves.

RHP Aaron Crow: Kansas City Royals

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    Height: 6' 3", Weight: 190 lb.

    Age: 25

    I'm not alone in my bafflement at how Aaron Crow is being handled by the Royals coaching staff.  With the back of their rotation a complete mess, it would seem logical to start stretching Crow out in the bullpen and plugging him into the rotation.  

    Nope, not going to happen.  It's not as if the Royals are in a hurry to call up top prospect Jake Odorizzi either, so what's the deal?

    New Closer?  With Crow's fastball/slider combo tailor-made for the 9th inning, perhaps that's his destined position. 

    Nope, also not happening.  Jonathan Broxton, Tim Collins and Greg Holland are ahead of him on the closer depth chart.  So what gives?

    Surely not middle relief.  Why waste the potential of a two-time first-round pick (9th overall in 2008 by Washington and 12th overall in 2009 by KC) that way?

    It's in these types of situations that Alex Anthopoulos feasts on opposing general managers.  For some reason, Aaron Crow appears undervalued in Kansas City (just as Yunel Escobar, Brandon Morrow and Colby Rasmus were on their respective former teams) and could be had for a package below market value.

RHP Neftali Feliz: Texas Rangers

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    Height: 6' 3", Weight: 215 lb.

    Age: 24


    Crazier things have happened.  How about a three team deal involving Milwaukee with Zack Grienke heading to Texas, Feliz to the Jays and a smattering of prospects headed both ways from Toronto? 

    Three weeks ago, this would have seemed inconceivable, but with Feliz and now Alexi Ogando both injured and Scott Feldman performing like, well, Scott Feldman, it would seem the Rangers could be in the market for a front-line starter.  Even after he returns from the DL, Neftali Feliz, with all his immense talent, is not that player.


LHP Mike Minor: Atlanta Braves

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    Height: 6' 4", Weight: 205 lb.

    Age: 24


    Similar to Feliz, Mike Minor is assuredly not undervalued by his club.  A first-round pick (7th overall) in 2009 by Atlanta, Minor is a tall left-hander with pinpoint control, an easy delivery and a filthy fastball/changeup repertoire that is reminiscent of former Pirate and Brave All-Star, Denny Neagle.

    However, he also may become the victim of his own struggles and a prospect squeeze-out. 

    Minor has struggled mightily this year with a ERA/WHIP slash line of 6.57/1.49 in 63 innings.  With comparative veterans Jair Jurrjens and Kris Medlen fine-tuning in Triple-A Gwinnett and fellow star prospects Julio Teheran and Sean Gilmartin eying his rotation spot, Mike Minor might find himself on the outside looking in.

    What would Atlanta need in return?  Their minor league system is almost bereft of outfield talent and the big club could use an upgrade at third base.  Would a package consisting of Edwin Encarnacion (he can play third, in theory), Anthony Gose or Jake Marisnick and another prospect be enough?

    Although if Toronto is indeed interested, they'll need to act fast as Minor seems to be rallying to save his roster spot.

RHP Mike Leake: Cincinnati Reds

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    Height: 6' 0", Weight: 180 lb.

    Age: 24


    Simply put, Mike Leake is just not getting it done this season.  Currently slashing 4.97/1.39 in 63.1 innings thus far, Leake is not showing the control he had last year when finished with a 12-9 record along with a 3.87 ERA and 1.17 WHIP.  When you are a career 6.1 K/9 pitcher, your control is paramount to your success.

    Even with Leake's struggles this year, it could be a tough sale to pry to him loose from the Reds.  With no MLB-ready prospects in the minors and Aroldis Chapman the current closer (thus not a candidate to move from the pen to the rotation), it would seem as if the Reds have no other option but to keep trotting Leake out there every fifth game.

    However, the Reds are close to barren, as far their farm system is concerned, after the trades for Matt Latos and Sean Marshall.

    So if the Pirates and/or Cardinals usurp Cincinnati's current division lead as the deadline approaches, GM Walt Jocketty might find dealing Leake to be an attractive idea.

LHP Tyler Skaggs: Arizona Diamondbacks

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    Height: 6' 3", Weight: 195 lb.

    Age: 20


    With the possible exception of Pittsburgh, Seattle and St. Louis, no other team in baseball has the depth of elite pitching prospects in their high minors than the Arizona Diamondbacks.

    Trevor Bauer is arguably the hottest pitching prospect in the N.L. and looks to be called up very soon, as he's dominated three levels of minor league hitters in just 106 innings.

    Meanwhile, 19-year-old super prospect Archie Bradley is currently blowing his 99-mph fastball past befuddled hitters as he pitches for Single-A South Bend.

    Caught in the middle is the prize of the Dan Haren trade, LHP Tyler Skaggs.  In 118 Double-A innings, Skaggs has amassed a 9-5 record to go along with a 2.52 ERA, 1.11 WHIP, 10.4 K/9 and 4.25 K/BB.  Tyler is pitching well enough for a promotion to Triple-A, at the very least, and should see some time in the show once rosters are expanded in September.

    However, the Arizona rotation is performing very well and once Bauer makes his debut, should be locked air-tight.  Currently 3.5 games out of the Wild Card position, the D-Backs could be tempted to use Skaggs as trade bait for some help on offense and in the pen.

    Enter my favorite Blue Jay trading chip: Edwin Encarnacion. 

    Third base has been a black hole offensively, with Ryan Roberts and Josh Bell manning the hot corner.

    Meanwhile EE has been tearing it up.  Would GM Josh Towers roll the dice on Edwin's suspect defense to get his bat? 

    Other parts would need to be included as well.  Think Casey Janssen and a pair of top-five prospects.  But if the return is Baseball America's No. 7 prospect in the game, it should be worth it.