Trade speculation: Twins reportedly checking on Blue Jays pitchers, Padres closer

The Twins pursuit of bullpen help hasn’t stopped at Giants closer Will Smith. The Twins also have made calls on Blue Jays righthander Ken Giles and Padres righty Kirby Yates, according to the Star Tribune.

Minnesota’s once 11.5-game lead over Cleveland in the AL Central is down to 5.5 games entering the All-Star break and the Twins will begin a three-game series on Friday in Cleveland. It’s no secret the Twins have been looking for help both in the starting rotation and the bullpen and the Indians’ month-plus hot streak might make that even more of a priority.

Giles, 28, has 13 saves and a 1.45 ERA this season, having pitched in 31 games and finished 26 of them. Giles missed two weeks in June because of inflammation in his pitching elbow but returned in late June. Yates, who is 32 and also signed through 2019, has an NL-leading 30 saves and a 1.15 ERA in 38 games (35 finished) this season. Both Giles and Yates are under team control via arbitration through 2020.

The Star Tribune noted that Toronto and San Diego both had scouts recently watching the Twins’ Triple-A affiliate in Rochester, as did Arizona and Pittsburgh.

Meanwhile, TSN’s Scott Mitchell tweeted that the Twins and Yankees have reached out about acquiring starter Marcus Stroman and Giles in the same package. Mitchell points out the Blue Jays’ preference may be to maximize the return by putting the players in separate trades.

Stroman left his last outing against Kansas City because of a pectoral cramp and skipped his final start before the All-Star break. The 28-year-old righthander is 5-9 with a 3.18 ERA in 18 starts this season.

The MLB trade deadline is July 31 and, unlike in previous years, that will be the final deadline for trades to be made until the end of the season.