With the news that the New York Yankees have made a blockbuster trade for A’s starter Frankie Montas, and that the Houston Astros have acquired 1B/OF Trey Mancini from Baltimore, the Toronto Blue Jays have lost momentum with a poor trade deadline so far.
The trade market is definitely starting to see players move, so Jays fans await reinforcements for the pennant stretch and playoffs.
Not only does it sound like the Blue Jays are not a finalist in the Juan Soto trade sweepstakes, it appears as though the other generational talent rumoured to be available, OF/SP Shohei Ohtani is staying in LA; and, now the two best available starting pitchers at the trade deadline in Luis Castillo (to Seattle) and Frankie Montas are off the board. Both were acquired by teams the Blue Jays will likely face in the postseason.
It’s no secret that Jays have been looking for starting pitching and relief help with injuries to Hyun Jin Ryu, Julian Merryweather, and Nate Pearson. The struggles of free agent signing Yusei Kikuchi, and using Ross Stripling in an unexpected full-time starting role, have amplified this need.
The only high leverage arms John Schneider has to call on are Jordan Romano, Tim Mayza, Yimi Garcia, David Phelps and Adam Cimber.
The bullpen currently ranks 15th in MLB with a 3.89 ERA, but 25th on fielding independent pitching (FIP), which suggests they’re not getting enough swing-and-miss pitching in relief, with a strikeout percentage of only 23.1% of batters faced.
The AL East leading Yankees today traded for Oakland starter Frankie Montas and reliever Lou Trivino. It cost them pitchers Ken Waldichuk (their #5 prospect), Luis Medina (#10 prospect) and JP Sears (#20 prospect), as well as second baseman Cooper Bowman (#21).
In addition to an earlier trade for lefty swinging All-Star outfielder Andrew Benintendi for three prospects, they’ve also traded for swing-and-miss rookie reliever Scott Effross from the Chicago Cubs for their #7 prospect, returning Hayden Wesneski the other way, a 24 year old starter in Triple A. Effross is exactly the type of reliever the Jays need, with a 2.66 ERA and 2.19 FIP with 50 K’s vs. only 11 walks in 44 innings.
Potential AL playoff teams like Houston (1B/OF Trey Mancini), Seattle (Castillo) and Tampa (LF David Peralta and CF José Siri) have also all added to their rosters this trade deadline.
Jays Still Active in the Trade Market
Blue Jays GM Ross Atkins has made over 90 trades in his seven year tenure as Jays GM, including six additions to the MLB roster from late June through the July trade deadline last season (Adam Cimber, Corey Dickerson, Trevor Richards, Jose Berríos, Brad Hand and Joakim Soria). So it’s not unreasonable to expect that he’ll be active ahead of the 6 p.m. ET trade deadline on Tuesday.
There are a large number of high leverage relievers still available on the trade market:
Michael Fulmer, Joe Jiménez, Tanner Scott, Scott Barlow, Anthony Bass, David Robertson, Mychal Givens, Joe Mantiply, Matt Moore and Kyle Finnegan would all be upgrades over current Blue Jays bullpen arms Anthony Banda, Trevor Richards and Trent Thornton on the MLB roster.
They have assets to deal, including the newly minted top ranked prospect on Baseball America’s top 100 prospect list. Let’s hope the front office doesn’t stand pat in the next 24 hours!