The Blue Jays have checked in with the Athletics about the availability of closer Tyler Clippard, according to a report from Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com. Toronto is known to be searching for late-inning relief help on the open market, being tied to Phillies' closer Jonathan Papelbon in reports earlier this week.
Clippard is one of many Athletics who may be moved in advance of the trade deadline, along with Ben Zobrist, Scott Kazmir and Josh Reddick. He has posted a 3.20 ERA and nine saves in 25 appearances in his first season in Oakland, and will likely draw interest from teams like the Cubs and Tigers, who are looking for relief help. The Astros nearly acquired Clippard from the Nationals this winter, though those discussions likely took place before the team signed Pat Neshek and Luke Gregerson during the Winter Meetings.
The Jays' bullpen has struggled all season, posting a 3.67 ERA that currently ranks 20th in the majors. Brett Cecil has stepped in as the team's closer so far this year, but has notched only three saves while posting a 3.26 ERA. While Toronto has clear interest in both Clippard and Papelbon, it is unclear if they will try to acquire Reds' closer Aroldis Chapman, who is available in trades and was recently linked to Clippard's old team, the Nationals.