Blue Jays & MLB Trade Deadline: 5 Things that NEED to Happen

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Jun 5, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher

Aaron Sanchez

(41) pitches in first inning against Houston Astros at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Peter Llewellyn-USA TODAY Sports

Get a Real Closer!

If there is a source of frustration on par with, or even greater than, that of the rotation, it is the Blue Jays’ bullpen. Their ERA sits at 3.47, which isn’t terrible. It isn’t great, but it may not scream at you. What does is the 12-19 record the bullpen has compiled. They have just 16 saves all season. In save situations, tells us that the bullpen has an ERA of 6.09! Opponents are hitting .260/.321/.419 in games with a score within 3 runs, .263/.325/.424 within 2 runs, .261/.325/.418 within one run and .268/.328/.421 in tie games. In fact, if you look at high leverage situations, the Blue Jays are allowing opponents a .278/.343/.438 line.

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This is not a recipe for success. And, what has the answer been? The Blue Jays have had success with Roberto Osuna in the closer’s role after struggling to find an answer. But, he’s 20 and was supposed to be a starter. Obviously, he won’t be this season. He certainly is not the best option for a bullpen. He’s just the best option they have right now.

Then they decided to move Aaron Sanchez to the bullpen upon his return from the DL. That might help the club avoid future injuries to their prized flame thrower. It also might provide them with a short term improvement out of the ‘pen. But, ultimately, it does not fix anything. Sanchez is a starter. He’s not a Band Aid, which is what the team is using him as right now.

What about LaTroy Hawkins? Is that the answer? A 42 year old reliever with a total of 126 saves since 1995. That’s it. There are others who have shown themselves to be a true closer in a much shorter amount of time. Even though this seems to be a deal to address bullpen concerns, it still doesn’t really solve them once and for all.

The answer is to bring in a proven closer that will have an impact and actually provide some stability and insurance in those tight moments when a game is on the line. Where would this team be if the bullpen’s record were even reversed? They’d have 7 more wins than they do right now. That would put them 2 games ahead of the Yankees and in first place!

With Craig Kimbrel and Jonathan Papelbon being out there, the Blue Jays do have options. That is not even mentioning any other club who finds themselves looking at the wrong end of the standings. Whomever the Blue Jays call in the next few days, they need to discuss a closer. Addressing all of their pitching needs might be very costly. But, winning doesn’t come cheap. The last thing they need to do by July 31st does, though.

Next: A Cheap Move the Blue Jays Need to Make