The Toronto Blue Jays have had to deal with a lot of external factors these past couple of seasons due to COVID-19. While the 2020 season was shortened due to the pandemic, the Blue Jays also had to spend all of that season and the start of the 2021 campaign playing their home games in the United States due to border travel restrictions. They were finally able to return to the Rogers Centre in late July last year and turned their season around over the next two months, finishing one win shy of forcing a playoff tiebreaker.
Fast forward to today and the Blue Jays still have to deal with COVID-19 restrictions when it comes to border crossings for players and staff alike. Both Canada and the United States have restrictions and quarantine procedures in place for unvaccinated individuals, which doesn’t impact the fully vaccinated Blue Jays squad but has forced some opposing teams to place a few players on the restricted list when they play North of the border.
With these restrictions still in place for both countries, the Blue Jays front office has to also deal with unvaccinated individuals when it comes to the upcoming trade deadline, as the club is unable to realistically trade for any player that has to quarantine for an extended time when the team has to cross the border to play.
We already know a few trade candidates the Jays can scratch off the trade list like starting pitcher Tyler Mahle (Reds) and Andrew Benintendi (Royals), both of whom are unvaccinated and stayed behind when their respective clubs made the trip to Toronto. With the Detroit Tigers starting a four-game series against the Blue Jays to finish out July, the club can now cross off another player that might have been featured highly on their trade board.
Reliever Andrew Chafin is the only Tigers player not coming to Toronto, a solid left-hander who signed a one-year deal with Detroit this offseason with a player option for a second season valued at $6.5 million.
Through 36 outings, Chafin is currently sporting a 2.64 ERA with a 10.9 K/9 and a stellar 2.6 BB/9 over 30.2 innings. He’s allowed only one home run this season and has been effective at limiting hard contact and hits all year, sporting a batting % in the 91st percentile and an xBA, XERA, and xwOBA over the 95th percentile. He was one of the top left-handed relievers on the trade radar at the deadline and is now off the Blue Jays list and potentially all the AL East teams that still have to play in Toronto to finish this season. He has mentioned that he would potentially consider getting vaccinated if the situation changes but will “… see what happens”.
While there are more players who are unvaccinated that we do not know about at this time, Chafin joins the list of players the Blue Jays front office will be crossing off their trade deadline board and might be looking at one of the other Tigers relievers in town this weekend.