Add Cheap, Expendable Pitching
Last season, the Blue Jays did quite well by adding relievers on MiLB deals and then eventually flipping them at the trade deadline for low-level prospects. John Axford, who’d been signed in February, was traded to the Dodgers at the deadline for another, younger pitcher. Tyler Clippard, who was certainly worthy enough to warrant getting traded, also signed a minor-league pact late in the offseason.
These types of veteran relievers are the perfect target for a team that’s in the prospect stockpiling phase. Even if three out of five arms signed turn out to be dealt for something of moderate value, it’ll still be considered a success. At first glance, Jeanmar Gomez, Boone Logan, Jerry Blevins, and Tony Barnette appear to be names that, if signed for the right price, could be dealt for a decent profit. They’ve had moderate success in the past and are entering a stretch of their careers where a minor-league pact might be the only ones they’ll be able to snag. Other names that could be resurrection candidates on this year’s free agent list include Fernando Salas, Hector Santiago, and Blaine Boyer.
Even those signed to short-term, major league deals, like Seunghwan Oh, could turn a profit if dealt at the right time. Though the relievers mentioned above don’t appear to be overly flashy (they all put up less than 0.75 WAR this past season), teams in desperate need of relief could pony up a relatively useful prospect at the deadline. Thus, the Blue Jays should go in expecting to add a few veteran arms for cheap.