The Toronto Blue Jays went into the 2022 trade deadline with a variety of needs on the roster. The club ultimately needed:
- One to two relievers with strikeout ability
- One starting pitcher
- One left-handed bat
After the 6:00 pm deadline had passed, the Blue Jays had made a few different transactions, netting relievers Anthony Bass and Zach Pop from the Miami Marlins, right-hander Mitch White and prospect Alex De Jesus from the Los Angeles Dodgers, utility player Whit Merrifield from the Kansas City Royals, and shipped Jeremy Beasley to the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for cash considerations.
Looking back at the overall needs list mentioned above, the Blue Jays did acquire two to three pitchers, with Bass and Pop heading to the bullpen while White could be used as a starter or in a long-man relief scenario as needed (the Jays transactions page says he was sent to the minors). While all three are upgrades to the bullpen, none of them are posting very high strikeout numbers, with Bass leading the charge with his 9.1 K/9. They are upgrades considering the revolving door of pitchers with options the Jays currently use while also DFA’ing Anthony Banda and Andrew Vasquez to clear some roster space.
Bass is having a great season, posting a 1.41 ERA through 45 games while Pop has some success through 20.0 innings this year, using his 98 MPH sinker to get ground balls at a 62.1% clip with a 0.9 BB/9. Former second-round selection White has also been pitching well, posting a 3.70 ERA through 15 appearances (10 starts) with a 1.250 WHIP and a 7.6 K/9. Each player is also with the club past the 2022 season, which is something Ross Atkins has loved to find in the past.
The addition of Merrifield is a bit puzzling but considering he can take reps at centre field and has a history of putting the ball in play, he is a prime candidate for a “change of scenery will do you some good”. This is put into question, however, as the righty-batter was not vaccinated when the Royals came to Toronto just before the All-Star break. This might have changed over time, certainly one would hope so now that he is with the Blue Jays, but he doesn’t bat from the left side and will most likely take Zack Collins or Bradley Zimmer’s spot on the roster, both of which are lefty hitters (although both are not putting the ball in play that much). So much for adding a left-hander to break up the right-handed heavy Jays lineup.
With the trade deadline closing yesterday, the Blue Jays picked up a much-needed win at Tropicana Field against AL East Rival Tampa Bay Rays.
Looking back at the trade deadline, the Blue Jays did ultimately improve the roster and added some team control with their acquisitions but it seems underwhelming, mostly because other AL clubs vying for the postseason made some bigger deals and maybe set themselves up for more success down the line. That’s not to say the Blue Jays don’t have a chance, as they are a good team and are currently first in the AL Wild Card, it is just another set of hurdles in the way of postseason glory with a squad poised to compete against some other teams that made more impactful acquisitions.
Last night was one game that the Blue Jays needed to have go their way, especially since fans were all over the place in terms of how the trade deadline worked out. The newest pieces weren’t with the club just yet but the current squad didn’t lose any key members other than Max Castillo, Anthony Banda, and Jeremy Beasley, which you would have to think is going to mess with the chemistry too much in the clubhouse.
Overall, the Blue Jays walked away with the victory over the Tampa Bay Rays on the back of Kevin Gausman’s fantastic performance, going 8.0 innings while allowing just one hit while striking out ten. Bo Bichette drove in a run in the first inning while the bottom half of the lineup rallied to add two more in the top of the ninth, which turned out to be crucial as closer Jordan Romano gave up a home run to Taylor Walls before closing out the game (he’s been giving up some hard contact lately, which is a bit concerning as well).
I would be lying if I said that this win didn’t mean anything, as it showed that this current core, even without the new players, can still find ways to win and probably helped some fans calm down from the excitement (or lack thereof) that was the trade deadline. The club will be better off with Bass, Pop, White, and Merrifield entering the fold but there will always be the “what if” factor, especially since the Blue Jays tried to acquire starter Frankie Montas and Noah Syndergaard before they were traded the New York Yankees and Philadelphia Phillies respectively.
Only time will tell if these moves pan out for the Blue Jays in the future, as the club still has playoff aspirations, albeit a tricky and tough road should they find themselves playing meaningful October baseball after their AL rivals stocked up at the trade deadline.
The Jays’ front office might not have added a “strikeout power arm” or a lefty-mashing bat but the club does enter tomorrow with some more established pieces. Question is, will it be enough?