Drafted by the organization during the 2009 MLB Draft in the ninth round, southpaw Aaron Loup spent seven years in the Blue Jays before being traded during the 2018 campaign.
A lefty on lefty specialist during his time in Toronto, Loup would craft a 3.47 ERA through seven seasons with 297 strikeouts, 98 walks, and a 1.271 WHIP. He appeared in 369 games but only pitched 318.2 innings, mostly because of his role of getting left-handed bats out in high-pressure situations. Loup has held left-handed batters to a .224 batting average for his career and owns a 4.17 K/BB rate while crafting a .258 average and a 2.77 K/BB rate versus right-handers.
With the club rebuilding after the 2016 playoff campaign, all the veteran players started to get traded off or were their walking papers, including Loup. He would be dealt at the 2018 trade deadline to the Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for right-handed pitching prospect Jacob Waguespack.
After leaving the Blue Jays, Loup would finish the season with the Phillies and sign with the San Diego Padres for the 2019 campaign. He pitched in four games before being put on the injured list with a left elbow strain that effectively shut down his season.
Loup signed with the Tampa Bay Rays for the 2020 season and established himself as one of the most dependable arms in the bullpen, riding a 2.52 ERA through 24 games during the shortened season. He would also pitch in the postseason with the World Series bound Rays and did not allow a run through his first five outings between the Wild Card and the ALCS, but he did get knocked around in the World Series to the tune of two earned runs through 2.1 innings of work.
Since being traded by the Blue Jays, southpaw Aaron Loup has been pitching well and it might be time to bring the former relief pitcher back North.
After losing out to the Los Angeles Dodgers during the World Series, he then signed a one-year deal with the New York Mets and continued to pitch well, throwing to a 0.95 ERA with 57 strikeouts, a career-high for the Tulane alum.
While he was used as a lefty specialist when he was with the Jays, with the Major Leagues adopting the three batter rule for pitchers, Loup has been used for longer outings. Although he did miss most of the 2019 campaign due to injury, the Louisiana product has been pitching well post-Blue Jays, and it might be time to consider bringing him back this off-season.
The current Blue Jays bullpen does boast some effective left-handed pitchers in Tim Mayza and prospects Tayler Saucedo and Kirby Snead, with Ryan Borucki a bit of a wild card based on his relief corps would make the club better on paper, with the team having a dependable option from the left-side to compliment an arm barn that already boasts Adam Cimber, Trevor Richards, and Jordan Romano.
Contract-wise, his deal last year was worth $3 million, and considering there are some big named relief pitching targets out there this free agency like Kenley Jansen and Raisel Iglesias, there is a chance that quite a few teams may be overlooking the great numbers Loup has put up recently.
It wouldn’t be outrageous to bring Loup back on a deal worth in the $3-6 million area depending on if it is a one-year deal or more, but if he can put up the same numbers as he did over the past two campaigns, he could be a valuable option to shut down left-handed batters.