Blue Jays: Top 5 trade deadline relief pitcher targets

Henry Wright
Jun 5, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher David Bednar (51) pitches against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the ninth inning at PNC Park. Pittsburgh shutout Arizona 3-0. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
Jun 5, 2022; Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, USA; Pittsburgh Pirates relief pitcher David Bednar (51) pitches against the Arizona Diamondbacks during the ninth inning at PNC Park. Pittsburgh shutout Arizona 3-0. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports /
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To say the 2022 season has been inconsistent for the Toronto Blue Jays bullpen would be an understatement. It started off well, with closer Jordan Romano winning American League reliever of the month in April, but since then they’re struggled to find any sort of consistency. With July well underway, the pen has certainly improved but has still struggled to help the also inconsistent starting rotation at times.

Every year, plenty of relievers are dealt at or before the trade deadline, and this year is shaping up to be no different. There are a plethora of good relievers on bad teams who gain nothing by keeping them, and I would expect there to be more than enough solid arms on the market for the Blue Jays to go after. Moves like this have worked in the past for the team, most recently when they acquired Adam Cimber at last year’s deadline, who despite some brief struggles in 2022, has been one of the Jays’ best relievers over the past year.

It seems more likely than not that the Jays will end up trading for a reliever prior to the deadline, so here I’ll take a look at five of the best options. These are, in my opinion, the five best relief pitchers from teams who could be looking to sell at the deadline. I’ll be ranking them in terms of how good I think they could be for the Jays, not just how good they have been this year.

To preface, there won’t be any left-handed pitchers on this list, for two reasons.

One, the left-handed reliever market isn’t very strong right now. Most of the good lefties have already found a place and they’re generally harder to come by. Secondly, the Blue Jays seem to have found themselves a solid set of lefties in Tim Mayza and Matt Gage, and a lot of the team’s righties have solid splits against both lefty and righty batters, so they’re not necessarily in desperate need of more southpaws in the pen.

Finally, before we get into the players themselves, there’s obviously the matter of what it would take to acquire them.

Instead of going over the potential package for each player, I’ll just go over what these deals could look like now. At this moment, despite recent struggles, the Toronto Blue Jays appear to be in win-now mode, and as much as you want to hold on to your prospects, they’re not going to help you win this year so you may as well pay whatever the price is to get the players that could help you get a ring in 2022. You’d rather not part ways with top prospects like Orelvis Martinez or Ricky Tiedemann but as I said, they’re in win-now mode and the right deal could see them heading elsewhere.

Final note, given that I’m only covering five players here, this is far from a comprehensive list. If you want to take a deeper look at the upcoming deadline, we have plenty of other pieces, like this one here about teams the Jays could be partnering with at the deadline. Make sure to follow all our coverage of the Blue Jays leading up to the deadline to get all the info you need.

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