Estrada took the mound several hours after the report surfaced and proceeded to allow six runs over 4 1/3 innings in a 6-4 loss to the Rays. The rumors were swirling before the disappointing outing and Gibbons tried to quiet them by being uncharacteristically blunt when asked about the waiver situation.
"Yeah, but nothing is going to happen," Gibbons said. "We need him. Most guys go through that; most of them probably get claimed anyway. Nothing's going to happen."
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Gibbons' comments come as the Blue Jays remain on the fringe of the race for the second American League Wild Card spot. Following Tuesday's loss, Toronto dropped to 3 1/2 games back of the Angels and Royals, pending the result of Kansas City's game in Oakland late Tuesday.
Despite Toronto's status as a seller at the non-waiver Trade Deadline, Gibbons' comments suggest the Blue Jays have not yet closed the door on contending in 2017. A postseason berth remains a long shot, considering the number of teams ahead of them in the standings -- seven as of Tuesday night -- but the deficit is manageable and the organization insists it is not giving up.
Estrada is one of three proven starters in Toronto's rotation, joining J.A. Happ and Marcus Stroman. Nick Tepesch and Chris Rowley continue to fill in, at least until Joe Biagini or perhaps Aaron Sanchez can return from the disabled list. Biagini needs at least one more outing in the Minors before a possible return.
"My gut tells me nothing is going to happen," Gibbons said of a potential trade, before breaking into laughter. "And maybe my inside information tells me that ... I'd keep him. I'd definitely keep him."
Estrada went through a rough nine-start stretch from the beginning of June until July 21, posting a 9.52 ERA. He followed that up by allowing three runs or less in four consecutive outings his struggles resurfaced Tuesday against the Rays. Estrada allowed six runs on 10 hits and four walks as his record dropped to 5-8 with a 5.09 ERA.
The 34-year-old's performance vs. Tampa Bay this season has been particularly troublesome. In four starts, Estrada has allowed 22 runs over 18 2/3 innings against the divison rivals.
"I felt OK," Estrada said. "I did make some good pitches and they just found a way against me. It's just one of those teams that has my number and I haven't been able to figure them out. It's unfortunate, you know. I felt OK today. I felt like I made some decent pitches and the next thing I know, I'm down six runs."
Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.