Blue Jays said to be “leading candidates” for either Ervin Santana or Ubaldo Jimenez

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The great Ken Rosenthal of FOXSports.com shares this scoop:

The Blue Jays, quiet for much of the offseason, still figure to acquire one and possibly two starting pitchers once the logjam caused by [Masahiro] Tanaka starts to resolve.

The Jays are a leading candidate to sign either [Ervin] Santana or [Ubaldo] Jimenez; they have two protected first-round picks, Nos. 9 and 11, and would sacrifice only a second-rounder and the accompanying pool money for one of those free-agent right-handers.

Toronto had a 4.25 staff ERA in 2013, which ranked 25th in MLB. There has been very little talk of a run at Tanaka, who could get over $100 million guaranteed, but the Jays are poised to chase the next best thing once that chip falls into place.

Santana, 31, posted a 3.24 ERA and 1.14 WHIP in 32 starts last year for the Royals, fanning 161 batters in 211 innings. Jimenez, 29, had a 3.30 ERA, 1.33 WHIP and 194 strikeouts in 182 2/3 frames for Cleveland.

The Blue Jays’ three locked-in starters for 2014 are R.A. Dickey, Mark Buehrle and Brandon Morrow.

J.A. Happ could win a spot and there’s still some shred of hope for 26-year-old righty Kyle Drabek.