Finally, for the division-leading Orioles, the rich just got richer as they added one of the prime starting pitching trade targets in Jack Flaherty of the St. Louis Cardinals to their already solid pitching staff for the postseason run. In exchange, the Orioles gave up three prospects in INF César Prieto, LHP Drew Rom and RHP Zach Showalter, while preserving all of their top prospects in the organization in the process. For 2023, Flaherty has posted a 7-6 winning record, to go along with a 4.43 ERA, 1.55 WHIP, with 106 strikeouts in 109.2 innings pitched over 20 starts. Those numbers have been decent for a back end of the rotation starter, but if Flaherty can eventually regain his prior dominant form in the past, the Orioles could suddenly be a scary team down the stretch and most likely into the postseason as well.
In addition, the Orioles also made a couple under-the-radar moves in acquiring flamethrower Shintaro Fujinami from the Oakland Athletics prior to the trade deadline to bolster their bullpen, as well as RHP Logan Rinehart from the Seattle Mariners at the deadline for pitching depth in the minors. Fujinami’s stuff can be electric and a potential difference maker, but has struggled with control for much of the season to provide full value for what its worth.
Potential impact on the Jays: Moderate– Again, similar to the Rays, the Orioles addressed their need to bolster starting pitching depth while the Jays stood pat with theirs. If Fujinami can also somehow harness his stuff and be a force in the final two months of the season, the Orioles could be unstoppable. As a result, the Orioles look to maintain their hold of first place in the division as they head into the stretch run, with hopes to keep the Rays at bay in the process. At the same time, unfortunately, it will definitely be difficult now for the Jays to bypass both powerhouse teams.
Overall, the Jays probably did enough to potentially keep the Red Sox and Yankees behind them for the rest of the season, but not enough to have the chance to pass both the Rays and Orioles to win the division title down the stretch. So their main focus should really be to make sure they nail down one of the Wild Card spots for the playoffs by the end of the season.