Blue Jays’ Deals May Have Been A Domino

Aug 1, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Toronto Blue Jays relief pitcher Scott Feldman (46) pitches during the fourteenth inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. The Astros won 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports
Aug 1, 2016; Houston, TX, USA; Toronto Blue Jays relief pitcher Scott Feldman (46) pitches during the fourteenth inning against the Houston Astros at Minute Maid Park. The Astros won 2-1. Mandatory Credit: Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports /

The Blue Jays were one of the busier teams on deadline day, adding three pitchers to the stable of arms for the pennant race.

For the second consecutive year, the Blue Jays gave their fans plenty to be excited about leading up to the trade deadline. It certainly helps that the Jays are in contention again this season, as they were last year (actually much better off at this point), and allows the front office to be more aggressive.

There were more aggressive teams to be sure. The Texas Rangers added Jonathan Lucroy and Carlos Beltran, the Dodgers added Josh Reddick and Rich Hill, the Cubs Aroldis Chapman and Joe Smith. For a deadline week that had been relatively quiet, the final day before the non-waiver deadline provided plenty of excitement.

The Blue Jays did get some work done earlier, adding Jason Grilli back on May 31st from the Braves, Melvin Upton Jr from the Padres, and Joaquin Benoit last week from the Mariners. While each of those additions added to an already talented club, GM Ross Atkins continued to work the phones leading up to the final day.

He was able to add three more arms on August 1st, and one has to wonder how much one day had to do with another. Here are the three transactions:

A) Blue Jays acquire Scott Feldman from the Astros for Guadalupe Chavez.

B) Blue Jays acquire Mike Bolsinger from the Dodgers for Jesse Chavez and cash considerations.

C) Blue Jays acquire Francisco Liriano and two prospects for Drew Hutchison.

Next: What The Blue Jays Are Getting in Feldman

We all know the Blue Jays wanted to add more arms, but the big question was whether or not they would pursue a starter to replace Aaron Sanchez in the rotation after his seemingly inevitable move to the bullpen. Atkins and Mark Shapiro were able to add three pitchers that are capable of starting, although granted none of them are of the ace variety.

No “B” without “A”

Feldman was brought in to replace Jesse Chavez as the long man in the bullpen. Chavez had struggled to the tune of a 4.57 ERA in his second tenure with the Blue Jays, and will likely welcome a change of scenery. The Blue Jays likely don’t trade Chavez for Bollinger without the Feldman deal going through. Feldman essentially covers Chavez’s spot on the big league club, and brings the ability to cover multiple innings, spot start, and brought a 2.90 ERA over 62 innings with him to Toronto.

No “C” without “B”

Having acquired Bolsinger from the Dodgers, the Blue Jays had the added Triple A depth they needed in order to move another piece. Without adding Bolsinger, it’s possible the Blue Jays aren’t willing to trade Drew Hutchison to the Pirates. While he didn’t provide much at the big league level, his presence was a safety net for the team knowing that Sanchez may move to the pen, Marco Estrada has struggled off and on with his back, or generally safeguarding against injury.

Bollinger had some success as a starter for the Dodgers, but he is best used as Triple A depth, which is where he’ll be in the Blue Jays organization until further notice.

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No “B” without “C”

Maybe it’s a stretch, but I don’t know if the Blue Jays can trade away Drew Hutchison without acquiring Bolsinger. They may have made the move anyway, as Liriano provides the starting depth that Hutchison brought, but Liriano would never have been intended as depth.

Without adding Liriano, the Blue Jays would have eventually been looking at using one of Hutchison or Scott Feldman as the fifth starter, assuming Sanchez is moved to the bullpen. Granted, Liriano has underwhelming stats as a starter, but he has playoff experience and a long history of success, especially with his new/old catcher Russell Martin.

Maybe None Without Attendance Boost

Winning brings people to the park, and people in the park means a healthier payroll. The Blue Jays have been among the MLB’s best in attendance in 2016, and have been riding the wave since roughly this time last season. The Blue Jays currently sit in 4th in the MLB, and 1st in the AL averaging just over 40,000 fans per game.

Without that support from the fans, the Blue Jays likely aren’t able to make these moves. Scott Feldman is finishing out a 1 year, 8 million deal that the Blue Jays are taking on. Liriano is owed the balance of 13.667 million this season, and the same for 2017. The Jays also sent cash with Jesse Chavez to the Dodgers cover the balance of his contract this season.

Next: Atkins & Blue Jays Say Sanchez's Bullpen Move Coming Soon

Without the boost in attendance, Shapiro and Atkins likely wouldn’t have had the resources to make these additions, certainly not the Liriano one, which also netted two prospects who immediately join the Blue Jays’ top 10 list.

All deadlines come with a domino effect, as most GM’s have calls in to nearly every team in the league come trade deadline day. It’s a rabbit hole that you could think about all day, but it’s entirely possible that the Blue Jays needed one or more of these deals to go through, in order to finalize the others.