The Toronto Blue Jays are widely expected to be buyers as the August 1st MLB trade deadline rapidly approaches. They might be smart to take a page from former General Manager Alex Anthopoulos, who is now working as the general manager and president of baseball operations for the Atlanta Braves.
The well-respected executive traded for relievers Pierce Johnson and Taylor Hearn without having to surrender much as far as top-end prospects are concerned. Victor Vodnik, Atlanta’s tenth-ranked prospect, went to Colorado in exchange for Johnson. To acquire the services of Hearn, Tanner Gordon (the #26 prospect in the Braves system) was shipped to Texas.
It was a clever move and further solidified the Braves’ bullpen as one of the best in the sport. The fact that this upgrade was made without sacrificing any of the team’s top young players should give Blue Jays fans hope.
Perhaps Jays GM Ross Atkins can work the phones to net a similar return. The club's 10th-rated prospect is Hayden Juenger. Rainer Nunez is ranked 26th. Juenger has struggled in 2023, with a 6.55 ERA at Triple-A Buffalo. Nunez graduated from Single-A Vancouver but hasn't enjoyed the best results (.561 OPS) at the Double-A level.
Atlanta had the lowest-ranked farm system in the majors, according to MLB.com, when the last round of rankings was unveiled. Toronto’s was 20th at that time, so it’s conceivable that they could offer a pair of prospects ranked lower than Vodnik and Gordon and still add a valuable bullpen arm.,
Some of the shine has worn off Otto Lopez ( #14 prospect), but he should be to contribute immediately. Davis Schneider (#28) has been raking with the Buffalo Bisons and could be the sell-high trade chip that sellers might be willing to take a chance on at the deadline.
Who are some pitchers that could upgrade the bullpen down the stretch? Jordan Hicks of the Cardinals, Royals Carlos Hernandez or Scott Barlow, and Brent Suter or Daniel Bard, members of the woeful Colorado Rockies, are a handful of potential options. Would they accept an offer like the one the Braves made? No one knows, but there’s only one way to find out.