Milwaukee Brewers: Are the Blue Jays a possible trade partner?

Matthew Dewoskin
TORONTO, ON - JUNE 8: J.A. Happ #33 of the Toronto Blue Jays delivers a pitch in the first inning during MLB game action against the Baltimore Orioles at Rogers Centre on June 8, 2018 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - JUNE 8: J.A. Happ #33 of the Toronto Blue Jays delivers a pitch in the first inning during MLB game action against the Baltimore Orioles at Rogers Centre on June 8, 2018 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /
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The Toronto Blue Jays are 14 1/2 games out of the AL East. They also have several key players about to hit free agency. They should look to sell as the calendar inches toward the trade deadline. Could the Milwaukee Brewers look to add to their roster when the Blue Jays sell off?

The Milwaukee Brewers are going to have to add pitching before the trade deadline in July. If this team is as ‘all-in’ as they appear, they need another arm. Jimmy Nelson is a huge question mark. Zach Davies has a shoulder injury. Even Wade Miley won’t take the mound for at least another month.

The Brewers have succeeded by playing the roster game, juggling several options, and piecing together a starting rotation. However, they’ll need more to win in September and October.

The Toronto Blue Jays have a pair of options that could provide the depth and ability the Brewers require.

Who would they want from Toronto?

J.A. Happ and Marco Estrada are both free agents in five months. Unless the Blue Jays go on a miracle run, Happ and Estrada will also pitch for different teams after July. The Milwaukee Brewers should have interest in both.

Estrada spent five years with the Brewers before getting dealt to Toronto for Adam Lind. He still has a tendency to give up the occasional gopher ball, but his peripheral numbers indicate that Estrada isn’t as bad as his 5.09 ERA suggests. He owns a 7.26 K/9 and a 2.29 BB/9 in 70 2/3 innings with the Blue Jays this year.

Happ is having a career season in his walk year. His 3.71 ERA in 77 2/3 innings comes with a 10.43 K/9 and a 2.55 BB/9. His 3.38 xFIP indicates that there’s even room for improvement.

Which target makes more sense?

Happ is left-handed and he’s having the better season. He may be in his age-35 season, but it’s clear that he’s still looking for another pay day before he calls it a career. A deep playoff run would add to his resume, and make him look a bit more appealing to potential suitors next fall.

The Brewers have also ‘been there, done that’ with Estrada. He’s a solid starting pitcher who could gobble up a few innings, but Milwaukee needs more from a deadline acquisition than just an innings eater.

What would a deal look like?

Happ is having an awesome season, and there’s a non-zero chance that he’s the best starting pitcher available on the trade market. Unless the Tampa Bay Rays look to deal Chris Archer, or the Mets look to deal pitching, Happ looks like the best option available. The Milwaukee Brewers shouldn’t part with Keston Hiura or Corbin Burnes, but a pair of their intriguing arms will have to head to Toronto. Would Trey Supak and Cody Ponce get them to blink? It might.

Next: Could the Brewers make a deal with the White Sox?

The Milwaukee Brewers need another starter if they want to make a serious run at a playoff spot. Happ will draw interest as the trade deadline draws near, and Brewers GM David Stearns should have the Blue Jays on speed dial.

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