Ferguson: Blue Jays' trade options could be limited

Scott Ferguson, TSN 1050
8/11/2014 11:52:29 AM
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If Sunday's incredible 19-inning victory over the Detroit Tigers at Rogers Centre wasn't enough to convince the parent company Rogers to add some key pieces for the stretch run, nothing will.

With 43 games remaining in the season, John Gibbons and company are five games back of the Baltimore Orioles in the East and are tied with the Seattle Mariners a game-and-a-half back of the Kansas City Royals for the second American League Wild Card slot as they get set to begin an eight-game road swing starting Monday night against Felix Hernandez and the Mariners.

Hall-of-Famer Bob Elliot dropped a little nugget about midway through his "Bob's your uncle" column on Sunday. He claimed Rogers had relented in its tight-fisted policy and could allow GM Alex Anthopoulos to add a $10 million contract this week.

To take it a little further, I went over the roster of every team, player by player, to pinpoint those making $10 million who might be available. Let me tell you there aren't very many. In fact, I could only find one player making exactly $10 million who might help the Jays in Cincinnati Reds outfielder Jay Bruce. The thing of it is, the Reds are still very much in the race in the NL Central and for a Wild Card berth. Reds right-hander Homer Bailey is making $9 million on a long-term deal and, while Cincy is still in contention, moving him doesn't make any sense either.

The Minnesota Twins have right-hander Phil Hughes at $8 million and outfielder Josh Willingham at $7 million. Hughes, the former New York Yankee, is having a solid year for a bad team. He's the kind of pitcher the Twins should be building around, not trading.

The Houston Astros might move right-hander Scott Feldman, who's making $12 million and has two years still left on his deal, but he's not much of an upgrade on what they already have.

Chicago Cubs right-hander Edwin Jackson has a durable arm, but for his so-so production is over-priced at $13 million per season.

Former Jays outfielder and current Texas Ranger Alex Rios is a possibility. He's making $13.5 million and can play right field or centre, but his power has diminished  with age and he only has four home runs this season.

New York Mets right-hander Bartolo Colon fits the bill at $9 million per season and he just won his 200th game, but he is 41-years-old and is under contract for next season.

The Colorado Rockies have three possibilities in veteran lefty Jorge De La Rosa,  first baseman/designated hitter Justin Morneau and left fielder Carlos Gonzalez. Gonzalez is making $11 million, but you can scratch him, since he just went on the DL with
tendonitis in his left knee and a right anke sprain. He could be shut down for the season. Morneau's bat would help and the Canadian-born left-hand hitter is only making $5 million, but when Adam Lind, who could be back as soon as Monday, and Edwin Encarncion return, it would be hard to see him getting enough at bats. De La Rosa would give the rotation a boost, but it's difficult to see him passing through waivers in the National League without being claimed. There are at least four or five clubs in the Senior Circuit that could use pitching help.

In my mind, that pretty well narrows the list down to one man - former Blue Jays second baseman Aaron Hill, who's making $11 million for the Arizona Diamondbacks. Hill is 32-years-old and is also under contract for the next two years at $12 million per season. With Brett Lawrie gone for three-to-six weeks and Ryan Goins sent back to Buffalo again, Hill would give the Jays some veteran stability at the keystone. Then, maybe for the short term good of the team, John Gibbons could convince Jose Bautista to move back to third base. We'll see what happens as the week unfolds.

- Cubs budding 2B prospect Javier Baez created quite a stir when he homered three times in his first three Major League games. The last time that happened was 60 years ago when Joe Cunningham turned the trick for the St. Louis Cardinals. Cunningham went on to have a decent career with the Cards, the Chicago White Sox and the Washington Senators. Though he hit .291 over his 12 seasons in the Show, he never became a prodigious home run hitter. He hit 64 homers in total

- The Blue Jays may be lacking in developing position players, but their pitching pipeline is definately alive and well. In addition to Drew Hutchison, Aaron Sanchez and Marcus Stroman  on the big club, 21-year-old lefty Daniel Norris is starting to look like something special at Buffalo. After going 9-1 at Double-A New Hampshire with a 2.38 ERA, Norris was spectacular in his Triple-A debut. He struck out a career high of 10 on Sunday at Durham over six innings, giving up just two hits in a 3-0 victory in the opener of a double-header. It would be great to see those 4four leading the Blue Jays' rotation for the next six or seven years, but the reality is at least one will probably be dealt to fill another hole.

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