It is no secret that the Toronto Blue Jays are looking to improve the pitching corps before today’s trade deadline, with the organization looking to bolster the bullpen but potentially add a starting pitcher into the mix as well.
Over the past month and a half, Ross Atkins and co. have added a few arms to the relief corps in the form of Adam Cimber and Trevor Richards, both of whom have been pitching well since joining the Blue Jays.
Yesterday, the club also added left-hander Brad Hand to the bullpen, sending prospect catcher Riley Adams to the Washington Nationals in exchange for his services. Hand is an experienced arm and one that should bode well in the Blue Jays relief corps for the rest of the year (he is a free agent after this season), pitching to a 3.59 ERA through 41 appearances with the Nats, racking up 21 saves so far this season.
While the Blue Jays could look to add another reliever or two before today’s 4:00 pm EST deadline, the franchise has also been heavily interested in acquiring starting pitcher Jose Berrios from the Minnesota Twins.
With the trade deadline coming up later this afternoon, the Toronto Blue Jays should look to acquire Jose Berrios from the Minnesota Twins to help shore up the starting rotation for both this year and the next.
Berrios has been a stalwart in the Twins rotation since 2017, sporting a career 4.08 ERA through 136 appearances. This season has been one of his best on record, as he has made 20 starts on the year and currently boasts a 3.48 ERA with 126 strikeouts through 121.2 innings of work. He also sports a 1.04 WHIP on the season and has kept opponents’ batting average limited to .213.
What makes the Puerto Rico product so appealing versus other names on the market is that he is not a rental player, as the right-hander is currently in his second year of arbitration and will not be eligible for free agency until after next season. Because Berrios does have another year of contract control, it is no wonder that the Twins have a high price tag on one of their top pitchers.
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Acquiring Berrios would be a slam dunk for the Blue Jays, in that he helps shore up the rotation for a potential playoff push this season while also having him around for next year when the young core gets another crack at contending. The organization would have to dip into the upper levels of the prospect list to get Berrios to become a member of the Blue Jays, a move that Ross Atkins and co. have not really had to face as of yet since taking over the team back in late 2015.
Honestly, I have been pretty high on the Blue Jays taking a shot at landing the Twins starter for quite some time now, and with Max Scherzer being dealt to the Los Angeles Dodgers late yesterday evening, the market should be clearing up for Berrios and deals for starting and relief pitchers should start to fall into place later today across the league.
While the club did add a veteran reliever to the pitching corps, adding Jose Berrios to the rotation keeps the Blue Jays competitive in the AL East and helps push for a spot in the playoffs, whether it be via the Wild Card or at the top of the division (unlikely but not impossible).
Other teams in the AL East and with the AL are starting to improve their rosters for their shot at the postseason and if the Blue Jays sit on their hands today, it will be a very tough road for Toronto to try and climb their way into October baseball later this year.
Jose Berrios or bust. Nothing more too it at this point.