Major League Baseball’s non-waiver trade deadline is on Tuesday and so far Toronto Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthoupoulos has taken the relatively cautious approach.
In trading for starter J.A. Happ and two other hurlers over a week ago in a 10-player swap with the Houston Astros, Anthopoulos gave up two expendable veterans in Ben Francisco and Francisco Cordero along with four lower-tier minor leaguers plus a player to be named later.
With time running out before the league-mandated trade deadline, Anthopoulos will now have to be much more aggressive if he wants to try and add another quality arm that could help the Blue Jays make a serious run for the playoffs.
Chances are he won’t.
Josh Johnson of the Miami Marlins remains about the only option left for a team to land that front-line pitcher who could help put a team them over the top during the final two months of the season.
Depending on which publication you put your faith in, the Blue Jays have shown continued interest in trying to make a move to obtain Johnson, a 29-year-old righthander who is 6-7 with a 4.14 ERA with the Marlins this season.
Jason Stark of ESPN reports that the Blue Jays remain a player in talks with the National League team.
Of course it was Stark who reported a couple of days earlier that his sources were telling him that it was “95 per cent” certain that Johnson would be remaining where he is.
Johnson is exactly the kind of player who would attract the interest of Anthopoulos; a talented pitcher who led the National League with a 2.30 ERA two years ago.
Anthopoulos would also covet the fact that Johnson is controllable through the 2013 season so he wouldn’t be able to bolt after just a couple of months service and leave the team empty-handed.
However, the Marlins also realize that Johnson has value on the open market and the asking price is said to be high, starting with several A-list minor-league prospects.
In the Blue Jays case, that would likely mean blue-chippers such as catcher Travis d’Arnaud or maybe even an Anthony Gose would have to be included in a package to make any swap a reality.
Anthopoulos has said he would be willing to make any trade if he felt it would help the Blue Jays make a serious charge for the post-season.
He has also stressed that he would not do so if it flew in the face of his other goal of constructing a roster that would be able to contend year after year.
That said, having to surrender some of the organization’s top prospects to land a pitcher who has had shoulder problems as recently as a year ago seems pretty steep.
And even if the Blue Jays land Johnson, there’s no guarantee with all the injury problems they’ve experienced that he would be the difference to raising Toronto’s post-season chances.
The Blue Jays entered Sunday’s game against the Detroit Tigers 3.5 –game off the pace for the second wild-card spot and would need to vault ahead of four teams to realize that goal.
And there’s a good possibility that the Blue Jays will be adding to their injury list later today with Adam Lind, the first baseman who sat out for the third straight game on Sunday.
Lind’s bad back is acting up again.
“If it remains the same there’s a good chance we could be looking at a roster change,” Farrell said on Sunday.