As the Blue Jays lose to the Tigers, the clock keeps ticking toward the trade deadline Reset Password Email Sent Create New Password Almost Done! My profile Your account has been created! Your account has been created Sign in Sign in Almost done! Sign in to complete account merger Your verification email has been sent Reset password Email sent Create new password Password changed Change password You’ve done it! Resend the email verification. I’m sorry to see you! Unable to cancel subscription

TORONTO — Over the past year, Matt Chapman has gone from one end of the competitive cycle to the other and back again.

Last July, his Oakland Athletics were buyers at the trade deadline for a fourth straight season before shedding their roster, the difference-making third baseman among the rest, once the lockout ended. With the Toronto Blue Jays, he’s back with a club looking to move up before the Aug. 2 cutoff, curious like everyone else about what’s next.

“I feel like this is what I’m used to,” Chapman said before hitting his 19th home run in a 4-2 loss to the Detroit Tigers on Friday night. “If your team is there, you should try to get a little bit better because everybody’s doing it. We want to win and our goal is to win a World Series, so it’s exciting.

“I saw the Oakland thing coming, I didn’t know when, and I’m thankful that it came here and I’m thankful that it happened at the beginning of the season. Sharing in the middle of a season is probably a bunch of stuff. I’m happy, I’m settled and whoever we get, we’re going to be excited to get.”

Intrigue continued to build Friday about exactly who the Blue Jays might get.

One line of thinking is that adding a top-tier leverage arm or two to the bullpen remains his biggest area of ‚Äč‚Äčopportunity, both bolstering the depth behind closer Jordan Romano and fortifying the bridge to him.

But while George Springer leaving Thursday’s 5-3 win early with right elbow discomfort raised concerns about the club’s lack of center field depth, a more alarming reminder of how thin the rotation is reach Friday in the sixth inning when Alek Manoah was forced to leave the field. out after a Jonathan Schoop jumper caught him with a right elbow.

The All-Star right-hander doubled over in pain and circled the mound, waiting for the needle to recede before a silent gathering of 28,046. Head coach Jose Ministral was rushed out and after a lengthy discussion, Tim Mayza was called from the bullpen.

Manoah’s X-rays later came back negative and he was diagnosed with an elbow contusion, a major blowout for the Blue Jays.

Now, overreacting to a single moment is not a good way to run any business.

But given the internal debate the Blue Jays are having about how best to support the clubhouse, the rotation is probably the most exposed area if there’s an injury, or if Yusei Kikuchi’s promising outing on Thursday turns out to be more tactile than bounce.

For that reason, drafting an elite starter, made more difficult by the Seattle Mariners’ acquisition of Luis Castillo in a trade with the Cincinnati Reds on Friday night, may be the wisest course.

Without Castillo in play, this market is much thinner, with the Miami Marlins’ Pablo Lopez, Oakland’s Frankie Montas or perhaps a creative outfielder picture for Jose Urquidy with Houston.

The Reds’ path with Castillo was clear, while the Marlins’ plans are less definite, with one source suggesting they want “a ton” of Lopez to influence their decision.

A high price is more than justifiable for both, but one of the key challenges for buyers at this time of year is identifying what’s real and what’s not, so they don’t spend days chasing their tail dealing with a team that it simply tries to measure value.

The Los Angeles Angels may be exhibit A in this regard with Shohei Ohtani, who would be an obvious focus for any contender if not for the skepticism about whether or not he will be dealt.

A deal of this magnitude is difficult to pull off in such a tight time frame, consider the track the Washington Nationals built on the Juan Soto sweepstakes, making it risky to invest manpower in a pursuit Ohtani when the hours are finite and the intention of the Angels. unclear

Ohtani is obviously the dream addition, even more so than Soto, but the Reds were clearly selling Castillo and the Blue Jays don’t really have a sixth starter if they need one for the rotation.

Rookie Max Castillo has impressed in a small sample, but has thrown just 12.1 innings since July 7, just two of those in the last two weeks. To suddenly think you’re going to carry five frames or more every five days is really sky-high scenario planning.

As a general rule, relievers are volatile, and the Blue Jays have been and remain very reluctant to divert significant resources, both in dollars and in potential capital, to them. This suggests they will target bullpen hires more specifically to minimize spending and avoid year-over-year risk, making, say, David Robertson or Daniel Bard more likely than, say, Gregory Soto or David Bednar.

The Tigers fielded relievers all along the ladder to close out their victory, with the nasty Joe Jimenez (over one season of contract control) handling the seventh, while free agent Michael Fulmer worked the eighth and Gregory Soto (more than three seasons of contractual agreement). control) the ninth.

Six of the 10 batters they faced struck out, the kind of relief the Blue Jays need.

If the price is right, the Blue Jays would be happy to have two of those three cross the diamond this weekend, but the Tigers would be wise to hang things out and see if need makes a desperate club pay in too much, maybe even too much.

If that’s what it’s going to take, spend big on an elite starter, as they’re a better bet beyond this year than a Bednar or Soto, and health issues aside, the Blue Jays will also consider Manoah and Ross Stripling workloads.

With another 5.1 innings Friday, Manoah is now 126 innings short of eclipsing the career high he set last year, while Stripling, at 78.1 innings, is within of the 101.1 innings range he posted in 2021.

Protecting them while guarding against injuries and the potential volatility of Kikuchi certainly seems like a priority.

As these considerations play out in the background, all the Blue Jays players can do is take care of business when they’re on the field and consider the possibilities when they’re off the field, free from the stress and anxiety of players to sell the clubs well. now

“I like this time of year because now it’s about winning and that’s all I really want to do, win,” Chapman said. “It’s fun to think about who you can get and what’s going on. But it seems like this year there are a lot more teams adding than subtracting, so it could be anybody’s ball game. I learned this team is committed, the front office knows what they want to do and I think they’re evaluating right now. But this team right now we’re good enough to compete with anybody. Everything we accomplish makes us that much better.”

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