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Toronto Blue Jays

4 SP to target on trade market

On Tuesday in this space, we looked at how the Toronto Blue Jays could patch up their threadbare rotation by throwing money at the problem.

Another option is to throw players or prospects at the issue. That might be a more likely route for a club that has more position players than it needs and tends not to spend big money in free agency.

If that’s a route the team decides to go, here a few of the starters they could do a look at:

The Post-Hype Man: Dylan Bundy

Age: 26
Throws: Right
Arsenal: Four-seam Fastball, Two-Seam Fastball, Changeup, Slider, Curveball
Fastball Velocity: 92.0 mph
Contract Status: Arbitration-eligible 2019-2021 (MLBTR 2019 projection: $3.0 million)
2018 stats: 9.65 K/9, 2.83 BB/9, 2.15 HR/9, 5.45 ERA and 5.15 FIP in 171.2 IP

How it works: There’s no two ways about it : Bundy had a brutal 2018. There is plenty to like, though. He’s still young, he misses bats, and his slider is a weapon. After suffering a rash of early-career injuries, he’s also been relatively durable of late. Home runs are the biggest problem, and you’d have to think that’s correctable to some extent.

The right-hander’s three years of team control will also appeal to the Blue Jays as he’d be ready to contribute in their theoretically-competitive years as well as solidifying their 2019 group. On the other side of the deal, Bundy’s three years aren’t that valuable to a Baltimore Orioles team that has a long road to challenging for a playoff spot. The 26-year-old might not be easy to pry away, but enough shine has come off him his price tag wouldn’t be outrageous by any means either.

The Rebuild Rescue: Danny Duffy

Danny Duffy is a little bit costly for an out-of-contention Royals squad. (AP)

Age: 29
Throws: Left
Arsenal: Four-seam Fastball, Two-Seam Fastball, Changeup, Slider, Curveball
Fastball Velocity: 93.1 mph
Contract Status: Under contract 2019-2021 for $46 million
2018 stats: 8.16 K/9, 4.06 BB/9, 1.34 HR/9, 4.88 ERA and 4.70 FIP in 155 IP

How it works:  Duffy is coming off a down year where both control and command were a problem, but he’s under contract at a fair price for a three-year term that should be attractive to the Blue Jays. Not many lefty starters boast his velocity and stuff and based on his strong 2016 and 2017 campaigns it seems fair to project a bounce back this season.

From the Royals point of view, clearing Duffy’s salary would be a relief for a small-market club in the middle of a rebuild. The southpaw doesn’t have much utility to them at this point other than bringing them closer to respectability, and a few younger pieces would do them a lot more good.

The Velocity Bet: Jose Urena

Miami Marlins pitcher Jose Ureña is a guy with untapped potential. (AP)

Age: 27
Throws: Right
Arsenal: Four-seam Fastball, Changeup, Slider,
Fastball Velocity: 95.8 mph
Contract Status: Arbitration-eligible 2019-2021 (MLBTR 2019 projection: $3.6 million)
2018 stats: 6.72 K/9, 2.64 BB/9, 0.98 HR/9, 3.98 ERA and 4.17 FIP in 174 IP

How it works: In terms of pure production, Urena isn’t blowing anyone away. He doesn’t miss bats, he struggles against left-handers, and there’s nothing too special about his batted-ball profile against. There’s more to him than his stat line, though.

The 27-year-old had the eighth-highest velocity among qualified starters last season and has an above-average slider to match. Arguably, his primary deficiency is that he suffers a worse third-time-through-the-order penalty than most, so an adjustment to his usage could greatly benefit him. His problems with strikeouts and lefties would also be mitigated if he makes strides with his under-developed changeup. The raw materials here are exactly what any pitching coach would love to work with, and it’s not hard to imagine him being a tweak or two away from being a lot better.

That may not happen, but he’s an interesting guy to take a shot on and given that Marlins players are perpetually for sale, it’s hard to imagine he’s not available — especially as he heads into arbitration and starts making some money.

The Long Road Home: Anthony DeSclafani 

Anthony DeSclafani has been hurt a lot in recent years, but his stuff hasn’t diminished.

Age: 28
Throws: Right
Arsenal: Four-seam Fastball, Changeup, Slider, Two-Seam Fastball, Curveball
Fastball Velocity: 94.1 mph
Contract Status: Arbitration-eligible 2019-2020 (MLBTR 2019 projection: $2.1 million)
2018 stats: 8.45 K/9, 2.35 BB/9, 1.88 HR/9, 4.93 ERA and 4.83 FIP in 115 IP

After strong seasons in 2015 and 2016, durability has not been the calling card of the former Blue Jays sixth-rounder. When he finally made it back from the UCL-injury wilderness last season the results weren’t super impressive either.

However, DeSclafani had career-best velocity in 2018 and most of his problems were the result of the long ball, an issue that tends not to be stable year-to-year. A healthy season could help him reestablish his command and keep the ball in the park.

Although the Reds have often been too reluctant to move their guys during non-competitive periods, they have very little to gain by holding onto a guy with just two years of control. DeSclafani could be an inexpensive option in 2019 for the Blue Jays, with potential to be more depending on how he pitches. Even if the club doesn’t challenge for the playoffs in the next two seasons, he is an interesting buy-low asset to attempt to move later on.

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