Anthopoulos: Blue Jays eyeing outfielders, starters

Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos says defence has played a huge part in the team’s recent success, and says he’s still having trade discussions with other clubs, looking for either outfielder or rotational depth.

The Toronto Blue Jays may have added six new players in the last two weeks, but they aren’t done looking for upgrades just yet.

Alex Anthopoulos told Jeff Blair and Kevin Barker on Sportsnet 590 The FAN Monday that he’s looking at depth outfielders and starting pitchers in case there’s a deal to be made.

“We have had some discussions, taking a look at fourth outfielder candidates,” Anthopoulos said. “That’s something that we’re currently working on right now and if we can upgrade in the rotation, we’d like to do that as well. But this time of year … very few guys clear (trade waivers) and the ones that do probably have massive contracts which pose their own problems.”

As a result, the Blue Jays may stick with a roster that currently includes just three outfielders and a struggling fifth starter. Anthopoulos said the Blue Jays are hopeful Drew Hutchison can finish the season strong, but there’s no denying it’s been a tough year for the 24-year-old, who has a 5.42 ERA and 142 hits allowed in 118 innings.

At this point the Blue Jays are more confident in their chances of adding an outfielder.

“If something presents itself, great,” Anthopoulos continued. “I think the chances of us adding an outfielder are significantly greater than adding a starter. We’re staying on top of things, we’re seeing who’s out there, who’s available.”

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Dalton Pompey has been hitting extremely well since his return to triple-A, with a .363 batting average and a .947 OPS in his last 22 games for the Buffalo Bisons. The switch-hitting 22-year-old remains a big part of the Blue Jays’ long-term plans and he’s absolutely on the radar for a September call-up, but team decision makers seemingly like that he’s getting everyday playing time, so he may remain in the minors until rosters expand.

While the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline has passed, teams can still make deals by placing players on trade waivers. To complete a deal, teams must first place players on revocable waivers. If the player goes unclaimed, he can be traded to any team. If the player does get claimed, his team can either pull him back off of waivers, assign his contract to the claiming team or work a trade out with the claiming team.

Players must be acquired in August to be eligible for post-season rosters, so while trades can still be completed in September, Aug. 31 functions as a second MLB trade deadline. Impact players are rarely moved in August, but teams can add depth pieces, as the Blue Jays showed Saturday with the acquisition of Cliff Pennington.

The Blue Jays have a 61-52 record after sweeping the Minnesota Twins and New York Yankees.

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