Kendall Graveman, Chicago White Sox
As many would recall, Kendall Graveman was part of the huge package the Jays sent to the Oakland Athletics back during the 2014 offseason in acquiring the “Bringer of Rain” Josh Donaldson. Prior to being dealt, he appeared in five games in a Jays’ uniform and posted a respectable 3.86 ERA 107 ERA+, and 0.86 WHIP. He would go on to struggle for much of his time with the Athletics, until his eventual breakout season with the Seattle Mariners in 2021, and has not looked back since. Graveman has since become one of the premium relievers in the game, noted for both his consistency and reliability.
For 2023, Graveman sports a 3-4 record with eight saves, along with a 3.07 ERA, 1.17 WHIP, giving up only 14 earned runs, 19 walks and 40 strikeouts over 41 innings of work. The 2014 trade that brought in Donaldson helped the Jays in reaching the postseason in the two subsequent years. So perhaps the same fortunes can rear its head again in a reunion trade in bringing back Graveman for a second go-around so that he can help the current Jays in reaching the postseason this year and the year(s) to follow as well.
Liam Hendriks, Chicago White Sox
If the Graveman plan doesn’t work out, how about taking a look at his White Sox teammate Liam Hendriks? After all, Hendriks had been through the excitement with the team when the Jays reached the postseason in 2015. Not only that, he had a solid season with the ballclub that year, posting a perfect 5-0 record, along with a 2.92 ERA and 1.08 WHIP. But what’s more important is that Hendriks has gotten even better in recent years, and has turned into a bonafide, shutdown, strikeout-machine MLB closer.
Even more impressive is the fact that he is not only a winner on the field, but off as well with his recent victory over non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma cancer. He recently received the Jimmy V Award for perseverance at the 2023 ESPYs and revealed that he actually pitched in his All-Star 2022 MLB season with the disease because it was undiagnosed at the time. Presently, he is on the IL with elbow inflammation after appearing in five games this season, but he hopes to return again some time this season. If the Jays are willing to take the chance with Hendriks and he somehow regains his form and health prior to 2022, look for him to be at his best to lead the charge. Especially after all of what he had gone through the past year, nothing seems impossible for him anymore.