On June 1, this team was 10 games under .500. Fast forward just three weeks and the Jays have won 11 straight and sit two games above .500. They're now within three games of the second wild card spot and within five games of first place Boston.
Needs (likelihood to deal for position in italics)
Starting pitching-High: 28th in starters' ERA, the Blue Jays' rotation has been a hot mess. Mark Buehrle has been bad, R.A. Dickey has gotten shelled and Josh Johnson has been hurt. Esmil Rogers and Chien-Ming Wang have come out of nowhere to give some good performances lately. The problem is, they're still Esmil Rogers and Chien-Ming Wang, so it's unlikely they'll keep this up for long. The Blue Jays do have a slew of guys coming back from injuries that could be options (Kyle Drabek, Brandon Morrow, Drew Hutchison & J.A. Happ) but none of them seem like they'll have a big impact. If the Jays are serious about making a run in the AL East, they need a top of the rotation starter.
Bullpen-Low: Traditional numbers say the Jays have the fourth-best bullpen in baseball while advanced metrics are much harsher (25th in baseball in bullpen FIP). If the Jays' FO thinks their pen is due for a correction, they could go out and get an arm here.
Second Base-High: The Jays have a lot of guys they can try here, but none of them are very good, especially the guy that has gotten the most at-bats here (Emilio Bonifacio). They could really use an upgrade here.
Left Field-Medium: Melky Cabrera is playing in left field right now for the Jays, but he's staring a big suspension in the face (again). Even if he doesn't get suspended, he hasn't hit well at all this year, but it's tough to see him getting replaced if he's allowed to play. If he gets suspended for 100 games, as has been rumored, they could use a rental.
Fits on the Cub Roster
The Jays' needs scream Matt Garza, but Scott Feldman could be an option as well. They have enough back end of the rotation options, so Carlos Villanueva doesn't seem like a good fit here. The Cubs could offer Darwin Barney or Luis Valbuena as a solution to the Jays' second base problem. At first glance, it seems like the Cubs could help fix a Melky Cabrera absence, but they actually don't really have players that fit. The Jays would only want a rental, as Jose Bautista, Colby Rasmus and Melky Cabrera are all under contract next year. If the Jays traded for Alfonso Soriano, Nate Schierholtz or David DeJesus, they'd have to figure out what to do with that player next year (assuming the team picks up Adam Lind's option).
What's in it for the Cubs?
Sickels' Top 20 Blue Jays Prospects
Fangraphs' Top 15 Blue Jays Prospects
MLB.com Top 20 Blue Jays Prospects
Ranked the 13th- and 22nd-best organization for talent by Baseball Prospectus and Baseball America, respectively, this farm system took a big hit with its offseason trades. The Toronto system still has some talent, particularly at pitcher. Aaron Sanchez is a Top-20 prospect in baseball and is untouchable. The same is probably true of Roberto Osuna, who at 18 is striking out 11.1/9 IP in low-A. Last year's first-round pick, Marcus Stroman is interesting, many thought he was too short to stay at starter, but he's been solid at double-AA this year (3.77 ERA).
The big riser in the system appears to be LHP Sean Nolin, who has been great this year in Double-A, posting a 2.77 ERA and a 2.15 FIP. RHP Matt Smoral and LHP Daniel Norris are two other starters that could interest the Cubs, although Norris has been lit up this year and Smoral has yet to make his professional debut. If you're looking for the best relief prospect on the Jays, you're looking for John Stilson, who at 22 in Triple-A isn't far off from joining the majors.
The Jays are a little thin on position prospects. They drafted high school outfield speedster D.J. Davis last year in the first round, but he's a big time project who is a long way away. They do have a couple of interesting defensive minded catching prospects in A.J. Jimenez and Santiago Nessy that could catch the Cubs' eye. Jimenez has made a big return from Tommy John surgery, putting up an OPS over 1.000 between high-A and double-A in a small sample. Nessy has had a slower start to the season in Low-A, but he's only 20.
Overall Fit- Medium
Seems like a good landing spot for Matt Garza or Scott Feldman and the Jays do have quite a few interesting pitching prospects. Unless the Jays think Valbuena can play second base, they're probably only interested in those two guys.
Next Up: Tampa Bay Rays