In Williams or Kuhl, the Blue Jays would land a howler capable of contributing to their rotation beyond this season. Both are controllable for several years, but Williams is the more proven of the pair. The 28-year-old was a solid starter for the 2017-18 Pirates before falling last year, when he recorded 145 2/3 innings of 5.38 ERA / 5.12 FIP ball but appears to be in the middle of a rebound campaign. Williams made five starts in 2020 and posted 24 1/3 innings of 3.70 ERA / 4.21 FIP with 8.51 K / 9 and 2.96 BB / 9. He has a prorated salary of 2.825 million dollars this year and has two more seasons eligible for officiating.
Kuhl is also two years after 2020, although he currently earns a cheaper salary than Williams (prorated $ 840,000). The 27-year-old has got off to a good start this season after missing all of 2019 following Tommy John’s surgery. Kuhl made five appearances (three starts) at the start, averaging 94 mph on his fastball and recording an ERA of 2.84 / 4.98 FIP with 9.0 K / 9 and 3 , 32 BB / 9 in 19 rounds.
Neither Williams nor Kuhl would be commanding loot for the Pirates, who are way out of playoff dispensation. As Morosi notes, however, the Blue Jays could make a logical trading partner due to first-year Bucs general manager Ben Cherington’s familiarity with the Toronto farming system. Prior to taking control of the Pirates, Cherington was part of the Jays front office.