SPORTS

Anthopoulos looking for arms on trade market as Blue Jays chase AL East lead

07/02/2015 07:00 EDT | Updated 07/02/2016 05:59 EDT
TORONTO - Halfway through the Toronto Blue Jays' season and general manager Alex Anthopoulos knows what he wants: arms.

Anthopoulos spoke to media before Toronto's 11-2 win over the Boston Red Sox on Wednesday and pointed to his pitching as a need for the Blue Jays, who have the best offence in Major League Baseball.

"I think, clearly, the rotation's the area that has the most need," said Anthopoulos. "Not that the bullpen can't use some work. But I think that the bullpen is starting to settle in."

Toronto's starters have a 4.34 earned-run average, while its bullpen has a 3.84 ERA. The Blue Jays have scored an MLB-best 435 runs.

Injuries have been a problem for Toronto's rotation, with presumptive opening day starter Marcus Stroman tearing his ACL in spring training and Aaron Sanchez on the disabled list with a strained lat.

Anthopoulos pointed to relievers Liam Hendriks and Bo Schultz as well as closer Roberto Osuna as solid bullpen options all season.

That said, he knows his options on the trade market are limited this early in the season.

"What's available," said Anthopoulos when asked if he would take a starter or a reliever in a trade. "There's not really much available, period, right now because of the timing"

As much as Anthopoulos is looking for some pitching relief, he's open to any deal that would push the Blue Jays to the top of the American League East.

"If somebody calls and there's a position player upgrade that we can make, even though it's not the focus, you can talk about both," said Anthopoulos. "It's not like you're so tied in to bullpen or starter. If we can upgrade another position player spot, we would do it.

"It'd have to make sense. We'd have to make sure it didn't take away from our ability to add a starter or reliever."

Anthopoulos stressed that he wants to add depth to Toronto's pitching. Tinkering with the Blue Jays potent batting, even if it means adding a left-handed bat, is at the bottom of his priority list.

"You'd love to be more balanced but at the same time you wouldn't look to trade Jose Bautista, Edwin Encarnacion, Josh Donaldson, Russell Martin for a left-hander at those positions," said Anthopoulos. "If you're a good hitter, you're a good hitter.

"You'd always like to have that balance because there are those starters out there that really struggle against a lefty."

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