An­thopou­los look­ing for arms on trade mar­ket

Jays chase AL East lead

Cape Breton Post - - SPORTS - BY JOHN CHIDLEY-HILL

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.

CP PHOTO

Toronto Blue Jays Se­nior Vice Pres­i­dent of Base­ball Oper­a­tions and Gen­eral Man­ager Alex An­thopou­los, left, and Blue Jays pitch­ing coach Pete Walker, right, watch Daniel Nor­ris pitch dur­ing base­ball spring train­ing in Dunedin, Fla.

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