The Blue Jays are in serious pursuit of a starting pitcher and are "pushing really hard" to acquire one, according to a report from Jeff Passan of Yahoo! Sports. The news comes less than an hour after the Astros acquired Scott Kazmir from the Athletics in a move that is expected to kick off a busy market for rotation options.
According to Passan, the Jays have talked to the Indians about acquiring right-hander Carlos Carrasco, who has been made available by the Indians as they look to sell some pieces at the deadline. Toronto has been linked to almost every starter available this summer, including Kazmir, David Price, Jeff Samardzija, Johnny Cueto, Dan Haren, Mike Leake, Mike Fiers, and the Padres' trio of Tyson Ross, Ian Kennedy and Andrew Cashner. It is unclear if they have a preference at this point, though they have been in on Cueto and Leake for a while and were reported to have strong interest in Fiers earlier in the week. They have scouts at Price's start in Detroit today, according to Jon Morosi of FOXSports.com.
The Jays have been engaged in talks with the Padres, who are now reported to be in full sell-mode with just over a week left before the trade deadline. Toronto is also a candidate to add relief help, with Aroldis Chapman, Jonathan Papelbon and Jim Johnson among the names that have been floated in recent weeks.
Despite the Jays' explosive offense, the team currently sits 5.5 games behind the AL East-leading Yankees, primarily due to pitching struggles all season. The addition of a top-line starter would likely spring the Jays back into playoff contention, and it appears they are working aggressively to make a move.