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Blue Jays prioritizing Mike Leake, Jeff Samardzija

Toronto is seeking a top starting pitcher and a veteran back of the bullpen arm.

Robert Mayer-USA TODAY Sports

Toronto is not close to acquiring a starting pitcher but has been linked to several top of the rotation arms over the last few weeks. The club is seeking a top starter and according to CBS Sports' Jon Heyman, the Blue Jays are focused on attempting to acquire Mike Leake and Jeff Samardzija.

Johnny Cueto remains a possibility for the Blue Jays and the organization has come to the conclusion Cole Hamels might be too expensive and ultimately unrealistic, Heyman notes.

Leake, 27, could be made available over the next few days as the Reds were reportedly waiting until after the All-Star Game to begin dealing major league pieces. He has posted a 4.08 ERA and 4.15 FIP over 114.2 innings and 18 starts and has proven to be a durable middle of the rotation option. In 2014, Leake made 33 starts, tossed 214.1 innings, and could significantly help the Blue Jays as they attempt to make a playoff push. Although Cincinnati might want to keep Leake in the rotation, it would likely only take a prospect or two to get a deal done.

While Leake has pitched well throughout 2015, Jeff Samardzija had had success in Chicago's rotation. He has posted a 4.02 ERA and 3.41 FIP over 125.1 innings with the White Sox and would be a consistent starting option to add to Toronto's starting staff. Samardzija tossed 219.2 innings last season and the White Sox could be open to dealing him considering their struggles this season.

In addition to seeking starting pitching, the Blue Jays are also hoping to add a back of the bullpen arm, according to Heyman. Toronto was linked to Jason Grilli before he went down with an Achilles injury and adding Jonathan Papelbon, Tyler Clippard, or Francisco Rodriguez could remain a possibility. Although nothing is close, the Blue Jays should be active before the deadline.