While the current CBA negotiations and lockout have all Major League transactions at a standstill, the hope is that something gets set in stone before Spring Training rolls around. This would allow the Blue Jays to still make some trades or signings before the team rolls into Dunedin, adding to the team in various areas that are needing some finishing touches before Opening Day.
One of these areas is the bullpen, with the club needing another arm or two to fill out the rest of the relief corps heading into the 2022 season. The signing of Yimi Garcia and the addition of David Phelps on a minor league deal before the lockout were both solid moves to go along with the current core of Tim Mayza, Adam Cimber, Trevor Richards, and Jordan Romano.
There are a few relief pitchers still available on the free-agent market but there are also some relievers potentially available for trade who would help finish out the bullpen for the Blue Jays in 2022.
Let’s explore three of these options.
Chris Stratton – RHP
A former first-round pick of the San Francisco Giants, right-hander Chris Stratton has started to find his groove in the bullpen after dabbling as a starter earlier in his career. Stratton found himself traded to Pittsburgh in 2019 and has posted stellar numbers since landing on the east coast, pitching to a combined 3.69 ERA through 123 outings. The 2021 campaign was particularly strong for Stratton, as he appeared in a career-high 68 games and posted a 9.8 K/9 along with 1.298 WHIP with eight saves, a career-best on both fronts.
The Mississippi product is entering his second year of arbitration (projected $2.2 million) and is pitching for a Pirates organization that projects to be at the bottom of the National League East this year. With former Blue Jays executive Ben Cherington leading the charge in Pittsburgh, a deal for Stratton shouldn’t break the prospect bank but still add a right-handed relief option that keeps Romano in the closer’s role and has a solid track record to work with.