Blue Jays should trade Seunghwan Oh, and soon
Seunghwan Oh’s value has skyrocketed over the past few months, thanks to a string of scoreless outings and some excellent strikeout numbers.
As trade speculation is at an all-time high, the Blue Jays are in a very interesting place, as has been discussed numerous times by dedicated fans and casual supporters alike. With J.A. Happ leading the way, the boys in blue boast a plethora of viable trade chips that could help contenders climb over the hump of baseball excellence.
The Blue Jays, in particular, possess some stellar relievers that they could use as trade bait in a potential deadline blockbuster. Among them is Korean former-closer Seunghwan Oh, who signed with the Jays in the winter after a botched agreement with the Texas Rangers.
Oh, 35, was a superstar in both Korea and Japan, being named an All-Star seven times in Korea and leading the Japanese Nippon Professional Baseball league in saves on two separate occasions. A seasoned veteran, Oh soon took his talents to North America to pitch for the St. Louis Cardinals.
In two seasons, the native of Jeongeup, South Korea collected 39 saves and seven wins in 138 appearances for the Cards. With an ERA of 2.85, he then moved to Toronto in the hopes of continuing his storied dominance.
Simply put, he’s done just that, pitching to a stellar 2.82 ERA in 45 games for the Jays, notching two saves and striking out 53 while walking just 10 over 44.2 innings. Having finished six games, he boasts an incredible WHIP of 1.052 and is currently ranked third on the team in WAR with 1.2 wins above replacement.
Additionally, his K/9 number of 10.7 on the season ranks him in the top 30 in the American League and his outstanding walk totals also rank him highly among his fellow AL relievers.
As the trade deadline quickly approaches, it seems like trading Oh would be a no-brainer. He’s a veteran reliever with experience in the closer’s role who has been solid through the entire season, pitching in a rather tough division.
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According to Cot’s Baseball Contracts, Oh makes $2 million this season which includes $0.125 million in bonuses for 40, 50, 60 and 70 appearances. Additionally, his contract features a 2019 team option which becomes guaranteed if he appears in 70 games in 2018. The 2019 option is worth a modest $2.5 million and includes a $0.25 million buyout.
After checking the numbers, it’s pretty easy to see that the Jays have something in Seunghwan Oh. The Houston Astros and Los Angeles Angels have already shown the need for relief help, with several other contenders surely in need of some extra bullpen arms.
The Astros, in particular, could be an interesting trade partner, seeing as they just lost prized reliever Ken Giles to a demotion, a rather messy one at that. Still, Oh could be a prime target for Houston’s front office as they try and solidify their pitching staff ahead of the postseason.
Regardless of where he gets traded, I think it’s pretty obvious that Seunghwan Oh should be a higher trade priority for this team than John Axford or Tyler Clippard. Given his experience, contract status, and excellent numbers this season, it’s not unreasonable to suggest that he could net the Jays a top organizational prospect if they can find the right buyer.
Next: Blue Jays: J.A. Happ’s value likely not hurt by subpar outing
In 8.1 innings since June 29th, Oh has allowed just one earned run, has struck out 11 and has not walked a batter. With an ERA of 1.08 since that date, opposing hitters have slashed just .179/.172/.321 against him.