The Toronto Blue Jays approach the trade deadline red hot since the firing of Charlie Montoyo and sitting in the first Wild Card spot in the American League. Unfortunately, the division appears to be pretty much out of reach with the New York Yankees so far ahead but a playoff spot should be a certainty with the right moves at the deadline.
The Jays are built around their offense and have been winning because of their offensive prowess. The Blue Jays are third in baseball in runs scored and that’s even with guys like Bo Bichette and Teoscar Hernandez not having their usual outstanding seasons.
The Jays need pitching, and they need it badly. The Jays rank 16th in ERA this season which isn’t horrible, but only one team behind them is in a playoff spot currently and that’s the Twins in a poor AL Central.
The Blue Jays need to acquire at least one starter and two relievers at the trade deadline to ensure they make the postseason.
In the rotation, Alek Manoah and Kevin Gausman have been awesome. Jose Berrios has been extremely inconsistent but has righted the ship lately, posting a 3.41 ERA in five July starts all Jays wins. Ross Stripling has performed well, but I’m not sure how sustainable that is. Yusei Kikuchi just came back from injury and looked good, but that was against the Tigers and his previous fastball command is concerning.
Unfortunately, the price for a top-flight starter like Luis Castillo was absurd and the Jays thankfully didn’t match what the Mariners paid to get him. This also means someone like Frankie Montas is unlikely to land in Toronto unless the Jays are willing to pay a high prospect price. However, I think there are a bunch of solid under-the-radar starters who can help fill out the rotation with the injury to Hyun-Jin Ryu and the question marks that come with Kikuchi, Berrios, and Stripling.
The Jays rank in the middle of the pack with a 3.91 bullpen ERA. It’s not terrible but needs to be better as no team currently in a postseason spot has a higher ERA. The relief corps has some solid bullpen pieces in the form of Jordan Romano, Tim Mayza, Adam Cimber, David Phelps, and Yimi Garcia. Trevor Richards looked like he was improving but has struggled in his last couple of outings and has had a very rough season overall. Spots currently held by Max Castillo/Jeremy Beasley/Trent Thornton and Anthony Banda can and should be upgraded. Relievers are always available at the deadline and the older ones on expiring contracts are not hard to get.
The Jays could really use some veteran experience as many in their bullpen lack any innings in the postseason. The club doesn’t need a closer, they just need a couple of reliable arms to get them to Romano.
With the addition of some more depth, the Jays will be a lot more prepared to make their postseason push. With a strong lineup backing the pitchers up, with more quality arms the Jays should be just fine punching their ticket into the postseason.