It’s no secret that the Toronto Blue Jays need some relief pitching help, primarily a strikeout-type arm that can blow the fastball by opposing batters. The club is also most likely in the market for a starting pitcher and a left-handed batter, with the starter market still having a few arms available even with Castillo and Montas already on the move.
There are a few relievers off the market already, with the A’s trading Lou Trivino alongside Montas to the New York Yankees. At the same time, the Milwaukee Brewers and San Diego Padres swapped closers in Josh Hader and Taylor Rogers respectively and the Yankees also acquired Scott Effross from the Chicago Cubs (amongst other smaller deals mixed in between).
With the trade deadline now under the 24-hour mark and the deadline set for 6:00 pm EST tomorrow, there are still quite a few relief pitchers available that the Blue Jays could try and trade for (including but not limited to):
- RHP Michael Fulmer, RHP Joe Jiménez, and LHP Gregory Soto (Detroit Tigers)
- RHP David Robertson (Chicago Cubs)
- LHP Joe Mantiply (Arizona Diamondbacks)
- RHP Anthony Bass (Miami Marlins)
- RHP David Bednar (Pittsburgh Pirates)
- RHP Scott Barlow and RHP Josh Staumont (Kansas City Royals)
- RHP Jeff Hoffman (Cincinnati Reds)
While the pros and cons could be debated between the different pitchers, with the idea being discussed amongst the Jays Journal staff, there are some different relief pitchers that stand out among the rest.
After a flurry of deals a day before the trade deadline, the Blue Jays have yet to join the party but many relief pitchers are still available.
In terms of rental pitchers, Robertson and Fulmer are free agents following this season while the rest are under team control for at least one more season, whether it be through arbitration, contract, or team option. Bass leads the group in fWAR at 1.4 followed by Bednar (1.3), Jiménez (0.9), Mantiply (0.8) and Fulmer (0.7) with the rest sitting below. In terms of K/9, Jiménez leads the group with 12.7 followed by Bednar (12.2), Robertson (11.4), and Staumont (10.3) among the group mentioned above.
Some players are also most likely not going to be dealt at the deadline, with Bednar, Mantiply, and Barlow leading that group while Hoffman is currently on the IL with a forearm injury, which hurts his trade value heading into tomorrow.
If the Blue Jays are looking to acquire more than one pitcher, the Detroit Tigers have the best deal with Fulmer and Jiménez (Soto is potentially more towards not being dealt due to the team control) while some pitchers are unavailable due to their vaccination status such as southpaw Andrew Chafin. Unvaccinated players are subject to entry requirements for both Canada and the United States and it seems unlikely the Jays would trade for a player with such restrictions.
If Ross Atkins is trying to acquire a relief pitcher and another player, such as a starter or a left-handed bat, the following deals could be made:
- Robertson and OF Ian Happ (Chicago Cubs)
- Bass and RHP Pablo Lopez (Miami Marlins)
- Reliever and OF Robbie Grossman (Tigers)
There are a few different deals the Jays could swing but each player mentioned above is also being courted by teams across the league, especially with the expanded playoff format and the tight AL Wild Card race. The club could also be in the mix for superstar Juan Soto with the Nationals but that currently does not seem to be in the cards, at least from a rumour standpoint and would be a pretty shocking move considering it would be out of nowhere.
The trades so far at the deadline have shown to be more of a seller’s market when it came to the Hader deal and the Castillo transaction between the Mariners and Reds, so it seems likely that the Blue Jays might have to add a little bit more to the transaction to not only get a deal done but to ward off any competitors that are also interested in the same player.
While the overall consensus amongst the Blue Jays fans is a bit sour considering the club has yet to make a deal considering every other AL East team has made a trade and so have some AL Wild Card contenders, Atkins hasn’t been known to stand pat at the trade deadline in seasons past so I would imagine the Blue Jays front office has something up their sleeve before tomorrow’s deadline.
Patience over a crazy time period will be needed over the next day and fans might have more to gripe about if the deadline passes and the bullpen looks the same. Lots of names are still available so we shall wait and see if the Blue Jays front office has anything in the works.