The Toronto Blue Jays are currently on a roll, winning nine of their last ten games and running with an eight-game win streak that includes sweeping the Los Angeles Angels and the Chicago White Sox. One of the main factors has been the bats finding a groove as of late, scoring six or more runs in seven of their last eight games and having had contributions from the entire lineup, even with Vladimir Gurrero Jr. not hitting the ball like fans are used to seeing.
Looking at the overall lineup and with the recent hot streak of Alejandro Kirk and Danny Jansen splitting time as catcher/DH over the past week, the Jays’ main focus this summer when it comes to trades should be more on improving the bullpen. Adding a player like Josh Bell or Andrew Benintendi would make the roster better to finish out the year but I believe they are not needed as much as some more dependable arms in the relief corps.
That being said, let’s take a look at some potential bullpen arms the Blue Jays could trade for.
A late-round draft pick of the San Diego Padres back in 2016, right-hander David Bednar found himself heading to the Pittsburgh Pirates as part of the trade package for Joe Musgrove during the 2020/2021 offseason. Since joining the Pirates, Bednar has done a complete 180 on his career and has found himself entrenched as the club’s closer moving forward.
Since the start of 2021, Bednar has amassed a 1.97 ERA through 82 outings, earning 12 saves while striking out batters at an 11.6 K/9 through 86.2 innings of work. While he never gained a foothold with the Padres, Bednar is finding success on the east coast which currently has him being featured as not only one of the top relievers in the NL East but also on the trade radar given the Pirates struggling record.
The Blue Jays will most likely explore the reliever market as the trade deadline rolls near this summer, with a few names piquing interest early this year.
While acquiring Bednar would certainly improve the Jays’ bullpen, trading for him will be a difficult task considering he still has four years of team control and isn’t scheduled to hit free agency until 2027.
The Pirates can ask for more in prospect return because of this control and while the Jays could dip into some prospect depth when it comes to pitching and middle infielders, the cost and competition for Bednar could drive the asking price too high when all is said and done. Pittsburgh could also choose to hold onto their top reliever because of this control but if they want a haul of prospects, selling high on the hometown product will yield a hefty return this summer.