By Bob Elliott
The Blue Jays have been watching Milwaukee Brewers closer Francisco Rodriguez.
While the emphasis may have shifted to a much-needed starter, with right-hander Aaron Sanchez on the disabled list (lat), the Jays have made phone calls about Rodriguez, 33.
The right-hander is 0-2 with a 1.13 ERA is 13-for-13 in save opportunities. The Jays lead the American League in blown saves with 12.
Rodriguez, who has walked seven and struck out 26 in 24 innings, earns $5.5 Million this year and has $6 Million option for next season, which includes a $4 million buyout. So the Jays would be on the hook for roughly $6.7 Million.
The Brewers are looking for young help at either first or third base and in centre field.
The Jays evaluators have been dispatched with a two-pronged approach looking for both a starter and a “back-end guy.”
Starters available, according to scouts, include Oakland A’s lefty Scott Kazmir, 31 (3-4, 2.84 in 13 starts, who earns $13 Million), Philadelphia Phillies right-hander Aaron Harang, 37 (4-8, 3.24 in 14 starts, $5 Million) plus right-handers Kyle Loshe, 36 (3-8, 6.44 in 14 games) and Matt Garza, 31 (4-8, 5.07, 13 starts, $30 Million after this season) of the Brewers.
The other relievers available besides Rodriguez are Tyler Clippard, 30 (1-3, 2.96, 10-for-12 in saves, $8.3 Million) of the A’s, as well as one of Ryan Madson, 34 (0-1, 1.93 in 34 games, $850,000) or Jason Frasor, 37 (1-0, 0.44, $1.25 Million) of the Kansas City Royals.
And Ben Zobrist is also on the market, although he’s not a fit for the Jays.
The non-waiver trade deadline is July 31.