5 starting pitchers the Cleveland Guardians should target before the trade deadline

Cleveland Guardians v Minnesota Twins
Cleveland Guardians v Minnesota Twins / David Berding/GettyImages
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3. Yusei Kikuchi - Toronto Blue Jays

Like the previously mentioned New York Mets, things have been quite difficult for the Toronto Blue Jays this season as they currently sit in last place in the American League East division, 12 games back of the New York Yankees. While most of the attention has gone to Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette in regards to potential players that could be moved this season, veteran starter Yusei Kikuchi could also be on the move.

Kikuchi is set to become a free agent after 2024 and is having one of the best seasons of his six-year MLB career, with a 3.25 ERA, 1.197 WHIP, and 9.0 strikeouts per nine innings in 11 starts. This is the type of performance that is sure to result in the Blue Jays getting a pretty good return via trade if their season continues to be of the disappointing variety.

The soon-to-be 33-year-old veteran would easily slot into the top portion of Cleveland's rotation and would be a more than worthy replacement for Shane Bieber. Even though Kikuchi is an impending free agent, there should be plenty of teams calling about acquiring his services if he keeps up this level of pitching. This means the Guardians may have to give up a little more than they would like to trade for Kikuchi, but if they do believe that they are genuine contenders this season, it is a move that would be worth making.