In late night move to add pitching depth, Blue Jays make minor trade with the Astros

Mar 14, 2024; West Palm Beach, Florida, USA; Houston Astros pitcher Joel Kuhnel (92) pitches in the
Mar 14, 2024; West Palm Beach, Florida, USA; Houston Astros pitcher Joel Kuhnel (92) pitches in the / Jim Rassol-USA TODAY Sports

By now the Toronto Blue Jays' embarrassingly thin pitching depth is a well known issue. Starting pitching in particular has been stripped down to nothing in recent days thanks to some minor trades, injuries and players underperforming.

Wes Parsons, Mitch White, Ricky Tiedemann, Yariel Rodriguez, Chad Dallas and Bowden Francis are all players who kicked off the season as starting pitching possibilities. Two of them are out of the organization, three of them are on the injured list and one is not to be viewed as a feasible option thanks to some immense struggles in Triple-A.

Late on Saturday evening, the Blue Jays went out and pulled off a minor trade to bring aboard ... another relief pitcher.

The Blue Jays themselves took to social media (X link) to announce that right-hander Joel Kuhnel has been acquired from the Houston Astros in exchange for cash considerations. Kuhnel, 29, was promptly optioned to the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons.

Blue Jays acquire Joel Kuhnel from the Houston Astros

The biggest issue here is that the Jays took their lack of starting pitching depth and brought aboard a relief pitcher who has no experience starting games. Kuhnel will be fine as a backup option in case any big leaguers go down with an injury, but he just doesn't fill the exact need that this organization has right now.

Across 77 big league outings dating back to 2019, Kuhnel has a 6.30 ERA, 4.53 FIP and 71 ERA+. He's suited up for some bad teams in his career and the FIP being so much lower than his ERA likely means that he performed better than his ERA suggests.

Kuhnel is not a strikeout pitcher, instead using his fastball-slider combo to incude a ton of groundballs. He won't overpower the opposition with heat, but rather a low-to-mid-90s four-seamer and a mid-to-high-80s slider.

Kuhnel's addition to the Blue Jays' 40-man roster means that the roster is now at full capacity.