Coming into the 2022 season, the Toronto Blue Jays were considered a threat to contend for the World Series after all the offseason transactions the front office had put together.
Although they lost Robbie Ray and Marcus Semien, the team gained Kevin Gausman and Yusei Kikuchi who helped create one of the most dynamic rotations in all of the American League when put alongside Jose Berrios, Alek Manoah, and Hyun Jin Ryu. The club also added to the bullpen in Yimi Garcia and shored up third base by acquiring defensive stalwart and power bat Matt Chapman. The Jays weren’t done there, as they also traded Randal Grichuk to the Colorado Rockies in exchange for Raimel Tapia and prospect, Adrian Pinto, while also adding Bradley Zimmer from the Cleveland Guardians just prior to Opening Day.
Fast forward to today, and the lineup looks a bit different than what Blue Jays fans might have expected. Ryu is done for the season after undergoing Tommy John surgery while Kikuchi is in the bullpen due to his command struggles and being unable to pitch deep into games. Berrios has been inconsistent for most of the year between quality starts and struggling to keep runs off the board while Manoah and Gausman are posting Cy Young contending campaigns.
Alejandro Kirk and Santiago Espinal started the season hot but have slowly started to cool off as the season wears on while George Springer is battling injuries again but is a major contributor when at the top of the lineup. Almost every Jays player has gone through some sort of slump over the course of the season and to top it all off, the front office fired manager Charlie Montoyo and replaced him with John Schneider, who currently holds a 18-12 record since taking over.
Just over two weeks ago was the 2022 trade deadline, and with the club fighting in the AL Wild Card for a playoff spot, the front office needed to make some improvements to the current roster.
They were mixed in with quite a few players like Frankie Montas and Noah Syndergaard but at the end of the day, they made some improvements to the bullpen by adding Zach Pop and Anthony Bass while adding a swingman in Mitch White. Position-wise, the Jays also added 2B/OF Whit Merrifield, who made headlines prior to the All-Star break when he stayed behind when the Royals went to Toronto due to his vaccination status. This has since been cleared up considering he is playing on both sides of the border without being subject to quarantine procedures, but it did seem like an odd move at the time.
The Blue Jays were active at the 2022 trade deadline, and while they did make some moves, there are a few players that they are lucky to have avoided.
Looking back, the Blue Jays fan base’s initial reactions to the moves seemed like it wasn’t enough and left everyone wanting more, especially with how many deals were being made involving big names like Juan Soto and Luis Castillo. It also seemed like every Wild Card opponent was getting better while the Jays only improved slightly in what was widely considered a seller’s trade deadline. These moves have turned out well so far, however, as both Bass and Pop have been fantastic in the Jays bullpen while White has taken Kikuchi’s spot in the rotation for the time being. Although his bat is still a work in progress, Merrifield has been helpful on the defensive side of the ball as well as on the base paths with his plus speed.
Now that the trade deadline has come and gone, it is interesting to see some of the players the Jays were interested in and how they are performing with their new teams. Some are doing well, like Raisel Iglesias with the Braves, while some are not, which I am going to over shortly.
Let’s take a look at three players the Blue Jays were either interested in or seemed like potential fits for at the trade deadline and are struggling with their new teams.