Ross Atkins and the Blue Jays continue to wait out the trade deadline

TORONTO, ON - JUNE 15: Toronto Blue Jays General Manager Ross Atkins ahead of their MLB game against the Baltimore Orioles at Rogers Centre on June 15, 2022 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - JUNE 15: Toronto Blue Jays General Manager Ross Atkins ahead of their MLB game against the Baltimore Orioles at Rogers Centre on June 15, 2022 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images) /

With the trade deadline just days away on August 2nd, the Blue Jays need to improve a few areas on the roster if they want to continue to fight in the AL Wild Card race over the next two months. A few other teams have improved their rosters over the past couple of days, like the Yankees acquiring Andrew Benintendi or the Mariners trading for starter Luis Castillo, but the Blue Jays have been relatively quiet over the past month when it comes to the trade front.

This makes sense considering it appears to be a seller’s market, especially with the high price tag associated with Castillo that cost the Mariners top prospect Noelvi Marte, #3 prospect Edwin Arroyo, and #5 prospect Levi Stoudt with pitcher Andrew Moore thrown in as well to complete the deal. This is a pretty high price to pay for Castillo but one that makes sense considering the former Reds reliever currently owns a 2.86 ERA through 14 starts and has another year of MLB control before free agency.

Considering a couple of potential superstars are potentially on the trade block in Nationals Juan Soto and Angels Shohei Ohtani, both players are absolute needle movers for any team looking to make the postseason and can secure either one of their services. Looking at the price for Castillo and Benintendi, trading for either player will easily eclipse those marks and will deeply impact any farm system involved, a high price to pay for a team looking to win the World Series but one many teams will be willing to sacrifice for a chance at a championship ring. The Blue Jays are currently not seriously tied to either player via the rumour mill and trade sites at this time but that hasn’t stopped them before from making big moves at the deadline.

The Blue Jays front office has been relatively quiet this trade deadline, potentially waiting to the final hours to make some trades in a seller’s market.

Last season, the Jays were fairly active over the month of July (and even late June):

June 29: Acquire OF Corey Dickerson and RHP Adam Cimber

July 06: Acquire RHP Trevor Richards and RHP Bowden Francis (prospect)

July 29: Acquire LHP Brad Hand

July 30: Acquire RHP Jose Berrios

July 30: Acquire RHP Joakim Soria

These acquisitions ultimately did not translate into a playoff appearance for the Blue Jays, as they fell one game short with a 91-71 record in a beast of an AL East division. Berrios, Cimber, and Richards remained with the Blue Jays heading into the 2022 season (Francis went down to the Minor Leagues and is still there) while Hand would be DFA’d in late August and Dickerson signed with the St. Louis Cardinals in the offseason. Soria decided to hang up his cleats after the 2021 campaign, ending a 14-year career in the Major Leagues.

This month, the Blue Jays have only made two trades, acquiring southpaw reliever Anthony Banda from the Pirates and left-handed reliever Foster Griffin from the Royals. Banda currently owns a 4.26 ERA through 6.1 innings since the trade and Griffin has been in AAA since the deal, providing additional depth should the Jays require it.

These two deals pale in comparison to what the Blue Jays pulled off last year but given the current seller’s market and with two and a half days still left before the trade deadline, there is time for a trade or two to improve the team. The Jays’ front office knows the club needs another reliever or two while potentially adding another starter and left-handed bat to round out the lineup.

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Whether they can pull off some deals over the next two days is yet to be seen but the Blue Jays fanbase will be up in arms if the club doesn’t have a different bullpen come Wednesday night against the Tampa Bay Rays. With other playoff-bound teams like the Mariners and Yankees improving their squads already, the Jays will need to find a way to stay on par with other teams attempting to head for postseason glory.

The clock is ticking.