Toronto Blue Jays: 5 Potential Starting Pitchers to Pursue

Matthew ApplebyContributor IIJuly 1, 2012

Toronto Blue Jays: 5 Potential Starting Pitchers to Pursue

0 of 5

    June was a tough month for the Toronto Blue Jays.

    The Blue Jays finished the month 13-14 and had to endure the loss of three fifths of their starting rotation. Brendan Morrow and Drew Hutchison found themselves on the disabled list, while Kyle Drabek was shut down for the year after he underwent Tommy John surgery. The Jays also narrowly survived a scare involving Henderson Alvarez, who left a game early but would make his next scheduled start.

    As the MLB trade deadline approaches, whether or not Toronto will make a trade will be a hotly debated topic.

    General manager Alex Anthopolous has not been afraid to make deals in the past when he thinks it will benefit the organization. He shipped Vernon Wells to the Angels for Mike Napoli, who was later traded for Frank Francisco. He also acquired Colby Rasmus from the St. Louis Cardinals and Kelly Johnson from the Arizona Diamondbacks.

    Here are five potential pitchers Anthopolous could pursue to try and fill the gaps in the starting rotation left by a disastrous month of June.

Jeremy Guthrie

1 of 5

    The Colorado Rockies have been floating Guthrie’s name in trade scenarios, and he would come relatively cheap. The 33-year-old has struggled this season with a 3-6 record and a 6.36 ERA. A veteran arm that could be counted on in the Blue Jays' young rotation would be extremely valuable to the team, so this is a trade scenario that should be thoroughly considered.

    If the Blue Jays make the trade, Toronto would be on hook for roughly $4.9 million of Guthrie's $8.2 million one-year deal. Although the Blue Jays' pitching is depleted at the big league level, they are deep at the position in the minors and the Rockies would likely be looking for one of those prospects in return. 

Brandon McCarthy

2 of 5

    One of the funniest MLB players on twitter has found himself on the disabled list and part of trade rumors recently. His shoulder issues have forced him to the disabled list twice this year, but when healthy he has been more than serviceable.

    His 6-3 record and 2.54 ERA have made him an interesting trade piece once healthy. The Oakland Athletics have said that they would be open to trade talks once McCarthy is back from injury. McCarthy’s $4.275 million dollar deal is up at the end of the year, so the trade would be fairly low risk.

    Even if McCarthy doesn’t work out on the field, having his wife Amanda McCarthy walking the streets of Toronto can only be a good thing. This is a deal Anthopolous should look into.

Francisco Liriano

3 of 5

    The Twins' starter has been the subject of trade rumors recently as his play has steadily improved. The Twins are 9.5 games behind the AL Central leading Chicago White Sox and the time is as ripe as ever for the Twins to deal Liriano.

    Liriano started the season slow and got moved to the bullpen, but since being reinstated into the starting rotation he is 2-2 with five quality starts in six appearances. His record now sits at 2-7 with an ERA of 5.30. These are not head-turning numbers by any means, but he would only be in Toronto for the remainder of the season as his $5.5 million dollar contract expires at the end of the year. Another low-risk deal that could bring stability to a rotation in desperate need of it.

Zack Greinke

4 of 5

    Perhaps the most appealing name in trade talks is Zack Greinke. The Milwaukee Brewers’ ace is 9-2 this season with a 2.82 ERA in 16 starts. If Greinke is really on the market, then all is looking good, right?

    Not so fast. Milwaukee does not want to trade Greinke but they may have to. After Matt Cain signed a monster deal—$127.5 million over six years—to stay in San Francisco, Greinke was looking for similar money. The Brewers were not willing to go that high and negotiation talks stopped.

    Greinke’s deal is up at the end of the year, so the Brewers are either going to trade him or offer him the necessary qualifying offer at the end of the year, expect him to reject it, and get a compensation draft pick in return. Problem No. 1 is Milwaukee’s reluctance to trade him.

    The second issue lies in the price. If Milwaukee is forced to trade their ace, they will most likely be looking for a package of players including a pitching prospect, but more importantly, a shortstop. They Jays are unlikely to part with their current shortstop, Yunel Escobar, and their current Triple-A shortstop, Adeiny Hechavarria, might be too valuable a bargaining chip for Alex Anthopolous to part with.

    Although seeing Greinke in a Blue Jays' uniform sounds enticing, it is unlikely to come to fruition. 

Wandy Rodriguez

5 of 5

    Although the rebuilding Houston Astros have no use for the veteran left-hander and have made it known that he is available, the Blue Jays should think twice about pulling the trigger on this deal.

    Rodriguez’s contract is $13 million this year and if traded, his 2014 team option turns into a player option. This means the Blue Jays could be on the hook for $13 million next year when their rotation is healthy again.

    Furthermore, his numbers against AL East teams that are not the Blue Jays are less than stellar. Aside from Toronto, he has never beaten an AL East opponent in six appearances and has a 6.11 ERA in those starts. 

    If you're in the twitterverse give me a follow @applebyinc