The Blue Jays will be “extremely active” in trade talks

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The Blue Jays have already made a successful trade, acquiring Righty Taijuan Walker of the Mariners to bolster their rotation, but it looks like they hope to add more players in the three days left before the Monday afternoon trade deadline. “I would expect us to be extremely active”, Managing Director Ross Atkins told reporters after the acquisition of Walker yesterday (Twitter link via Scott Mitchell of TSN). It certainly doesn’t guarantee movement or extra moves, but if the Walker swap turns out to be their only addition, it won’t be for lack of trying.According to Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith, Atkins went on to stress that his club will continue to focus on preventing throws and runs. Completing the lineup appears to be more of a secondary focus at the moment, although Atkins noted the possibility of adding a defensive upgrade that also adds oomph to the offensive side of the room.

With Walker joining Hyun Jin Ryu, Tanner Roark and Chase Anderson in the Toronto rotation, there is still room for the Jays to pick up another rotation coin if they so choose. They had hoped for the best prospect Nate Pearson was going to enter the rotation and grab a spot, but struggled in his last two starts before making it to the injured list with what was ultimately diagnosed as a sagging strain. It’s unclear if he’ll return in 2020, and while the Jays have a higher level depth that could fit into that vacant fifth slot, it makes sense to choose another more established arm – especially if said arm is controlled at the – beyond 2020.. They have been linked to Trevor Williams and Chad Kuhl in Pittsburgh, but these are just two of the many options to explore.

When it comes to defense, there are a myriad of possibilities to explore. Simple bench options like Jarrod Dyson or Billy Hamilton could add a late boost to support an already thriving enclosure. A more impactful defender, Andrelton Simmons, is probably available given that the Angels are well out of action and that he, like Walker, is a free agent at the end of the season. The Jays are currently without Bo Bichette and could possibly drag him to the second or third when he returns in this scenario. Help behind the plate could come in the form of Pittsburgh Jacob picks up or a more established global presence like Christian Vazquez (if Boston is ready to deal within the division). This is all speculative, of course; the overall possibilities are vast.

Whichever route they choose to pursue the upgrade, the Blue Jays appear to have an increasingly clear path to a playoff spot in this year’s expanded format. At 15-14, they are in possession of the No. 8 seed in the American League, and the most-watched teams are the Tigers and Orioles – each of whom are more likely to sell assets by Monday than to add. Forgive the cliché, but the Jays even control their own destiny to some extent in this regard as they are expected to open a four-game set against Baltimore tonight which could put more distance between the two teams in the standings. The Tigers, meanwhile, open a four-game series against the first-place Twins.

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