The 2015 trade deadline is off to one of the slowest starts in recent memory, but it seems that the rumors are finally picking up. There are only 11 days left before the non-waiver trade period has passed, and teams will need to get active quickly. Of the teams looking to add major league talent, it seems as though the Blue Jays are getting ready to acquire a pitcher.
According to Peter Gammons, Toronto has inquired on Mike Leake, Ian Kennedy, and Jim Johnson. The Blue Jays' greatest need is for a new starting pitcher, as they rank 21st overall in terms of fWAR (4.5) and their team ERA, FIP, and SIERA is 4.35, 4.36, and 4.37, respectively. The consistency between each pitching metric is remarkable, and points to the fact that Toronto shouldn't expect any magical turnaround if they don't add a starter before the deadline. Ken Rosenthal also noted that Mike Fiers is a target, but it might be difficult to convince Milwaukee to trade him.
Sources: #BlueJays showing strong interest in #Brewers RHP Mike Fiers. No deal close; MIL not especially motivated to move him.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 20, 2015
Fiers is earning $512.5K. Not arb-eligible until 2017, under club control through ’19. #Brewers would require multiple pieces in return.— Ken Rosenthal (@Ken_Rosenthal) July 20, 2015
Fiers doesn't have the name recognition that Scott Kazmir, Johnny Cueto, or Cole Hamels carry, but he's been a better than average pitcher over the last two seasons, and he's under team control through 2019. It would likely take a couple impact prospects to get the Brewers to consider trading him, and it might ultimately depend on when the front office thinks the team will be able to contend again.
Toronto's bullpen could also use an upgrade, and Johnson would be a great addition. After a disastrous 2014 season, Johnson seems to be back to normal. In 44 innings this year, he's posted an ERA of 2.05, with an FIP of 3.22, and a SIERA of 3.31. His strikeout rate has dropped to its lowest value since 2012, but he's posted great overall campaigns even when he wasn't able to put hitters away on his own.
The Blue Jays need to make a move to upgrade their pitching staff, and one rumor had them connected to the Padres, and potentially acquiring a starter and a reliever at the same time. It remains to be seen how Alex Anthopoulos is going to act before the deadline, but he needs to act fast.