It seems as though the Blue Jays trading their relievers is inevitable, but now, insiders have suggested specific teams as possible suitors for the Jays elite relievers.
For the season, Seunghwan Oh has pitched to an ERA of 2.80 over 45.0 innings, striking out 54 and adding two saves to his season’s totals. With a WHIP of 1.04, I would describe his performance thus far as consistent, reliable and downright impressive.
With a modest option for the 2019 season, Oh seems to be one of the more attractive short-term trade chips that the Jays have at their disposal, and some insiders are starting to pick up on this.
According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, the Atlanta Braves are now focused on adding low-cost relief help, with Seunghwan Oh and fellow righty John Axford being among those named in the story. The Braves were allegedly interested in acquiring Manny Machado but were never really a legitimate finalist.
While Olney’s report doesn’t exactly tell us anything concrete, it shines a light on an interesting potential trade partner that hadn’t really been discussed previously. The surprising Braves (53-42) are battling the equally surprising Phillies for first place in the lowly National League East.
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With a strong farm system and ample major league depth, the Braves could be a formidable trade partner for the Jays if they do choose to trade one or more of their veteran relievers. According to Bleacher Report, the Braves farm system is the best in baseball, noting that their wealth of high-level prospects make their upper minor league teams exciting to watch and even more exciting to analyze.
For the season, Axford has pitched to an ERA of 3.94 with 44 strikeouts in 45.2 innings of work. With a record of 3-1, he’s been worth 0.3 WAR. Considering he’s only making $1.5 million for the year, his contract appears to be a bargain at this point.
Regardless of whether or not this materializes into something genuine, the Braves should be an interesting name to keep in mind when assessing the trade market for the Blue Jays relief pitchers. While the Alex Anthopoulos connection is evident, the Braves seem to be a possible partner even without the history and nostalgia.