MLB

Your! Call: What do the Jays need the most as deadline nears?

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Ryan Horne, TSN.ca Staff
7/29/2014 2:32:09 PM
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The Toronto Blue Jays are in an unfamiliar position.

With just over two months to go in the season, the Jays hold the second Wild Card spot, are 2 1/2 games behind the A.L. East-leading Baltimore Orioles and have a very realistic chance at making the postseason for the first time since 1993. But they also have holes - and injuries - in their lineup that could easily lead to the drought continuing for another year.

With MLB's non-waiver trade deadline on Thursday, Blue Jays fans will be seeking additions of some sort for the stretch run. Realistically, general manager Alex Anthopoulos won't be able to pick up everything on his wish list.

So the question is - what do the Blue Jays need the most in order to make the best possible run for the playoffs?

Second Base

With injuries to Brett Lawrie, Edwin Encarnacion and Adam Lind, the Jays have had to run with a makeshift infield for the last little while, especially at second base.

On Monday, Toronto picked up third baseman Danny Valencia, a player known for hitting lefties well over his career. Valencia has experience at second base as well, joining the likes of Munenori Kawasaki, Steve Tolleson and Ryan Goins, who have helped man the position for much of the season.

With Lawrie (and the others) presumably close to returning, the Jays could keep the Canadian at third and continue with a platoon situation at second, or have Valencia play the hot corner while Lawrie jumps over to second which he did for a short stint earlier this season.

There have been reports that the Blue Jays have shown interest in Asdrubal Cabrera of the Cleveland Indians, as well as the Arizona Diamondbacks' Martin Prado and former Jay Aaron Hill.

Is the return of Lawrie and the addition of Valencia enough for the Toronto infield, or should they get more?

Starting Pitching

You can never have enough starting pitching.

The early season debate on whether it would be a good idea to deal Marcus Stroman for a veteran arm may seem unrealistic at this point as the rookie has arguably become the ace of the staff.

R.A. Dickey, Mark Buehrle (who hasn't won a game since June 1), Drew Hutchison and J.A. Happ have all had peaks and valleys to their seasons. The injured Brandon Morrow is still a little ways away from returning and when he does, it will likely be as a reliever. Aaron Sanchez, 22, has been sharp in his two appearances from the bullpen, but John Gibbons and the Jays' brass has given no indication they'll use him in a starting role this season.   

So does Toronto need to add a starting hurler?

Jon Lester and David Price have been rumoured to be on the market, but it's unlikely the Rays or Red Sox would trade within their division unless the Blue Jays come up with an incredible offer.

Toronto may have to set their bar a little lower if they want to add to the rotation.

Bullpen

The Blue Jays' bullpen hasn't been horrible this year, but it also hasn't been to the level of a season ago.

Steve Delabar was an All-Star in 2013, but has spent much of 2014 with the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons. Brett Cecil has seen an increase in his earned run average from last year and Sergio Santos never found his stride before being designated for assignment last week.

Overall, Toronto has the fourth-worst reliever ERA in all of the majors at 4.37 and is tied for 10th in home runs allowed with 30.

Casey Janssen, Aaron Loup, Todd Redmond and most recently Sanchez have been bright spots, but a playoff team can never have enough pitching depth.

Antonio Bastardo of the Philadelphia Phillies is one player reportedly on the Jays' radar.

Are there any other areas on the diamond Toronto should consider investing in?

What do the Blue Jays need the most in order to make the best possible run for the playoffs?

As always, it's Your! Call.

Jose Reyes and Ryan Goins (Photo: The Canadian Press)

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(Photo: The Canadian Press)
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