The Athletic's Blue Jays' trade deadline prediction needs to happen

Colorado Rockies v Boston Red Sox
Colorado Rockies v Boston Red Sox / Maddie Meyer/GettyImages

As Tuesday's MLB trade deadline ticks ever closer, baseball analysts and fans are busy concocting trades they'd like to see, from excitingly unrealistic blockbusters to pragmatic and more viable smaller deals.

The Athletic recently released a trade deadline prediction for each team, and the proposed deal that Tim Britton thinks the Blue Jays should look for makes too much sense for it not to happen.

While the bullpen has been great this season — they have the ninth-best ERA in the majors at 3.75 — it's no secret that Toronto's relief arms could use some reliable reinforcements heading into the home stretch. With 172 2/3 innings, they have the 11th most innings pitched since the beginning of June.

The player Britton thinks GM Ross Atkins will part with? Relief pitcher Zach Pop. The player he thinks Toronto will get in return? Left-handed reliever Brent Suter from the Colorado Rockies.

Pop has struggled this season, with a 6.59 ERA in 13 2/3 innings with the Jays, and hasn't pitched in the majors since he went on the IL in early May. Since returning to action, the 26-year-old righty has a 7.82 ERA in 12 2/3 innings with the Buffalo Bisons in Triple-A.

It's been a disappointing campaign for Pop after he showed promise with a 1.89 in 19 innings with the Jays last season. With four more years of control, it's the type of arm that the Rockies would be interested in, in their state of "perpetual reset," as Britton tabs it.

Who is Brent Suter and can he help the Jays' bullpen?

Blue Jays fans who don't know Brent Suter can be forgiven. It's hard to imagine even the most dedicated of baseball fans on the East Coast staying up to get their fix of Colorado Rockies games. On the surface, there's nothing that impressive about Suter, but the more you dig in, the more appealing the lefty appears.

Now 33, Suter has been in the league since 2016, when he debuted with the Brewers. At one time a pseudo-starter, Suter made 18 starts in 2018, which led to the highest ERA of his career at 4.44. He wound up back in the bullpen, where he has a career 2.83 ERA in 251 2/3 innings as a reliever.

He signed in Colorado on a one-year, $3 million deal and has acquitted himself well enough that the Rockies should get a return for his expiring contract before the deadline. The southpaw has a 2.85 ERA and 1.12 WHIP in 47 1/3 innings this season.

Despite the impressive showing in the above clip, Suter isn't a big strikeout guy, with a 7.33 K/9. With four pitches, none of which averages over 89 mph, he gets the job done by inducing weak contact with his "funky mix" from the left side.

His 23.9 percent hard-hit rate ranks him second among qualified relievers, while he has the lowest average exit velocity at 83.4 mph and the seventh-best barrel rate at 2.2 percent. All this has led him to surrender only two home runs this year, neither of which has come at hitter-friendly Coors Field. That's quite the feat.

Suter would give the Jays a third left-hander in the bullpen but wouldn't necessarily have to be a lefty specialist. He has been more effective against right-handed batters this season, keeping them to a .191 batting average, while lefties have hit .237 against him.

More importantly, he can reliably pitch multiple innings, up to two frames per outing. With 19 of his 34 appearances this season lasting longer than one inning, Suter would be an excellent fit for a Jays' deadline deal. He'd make an immediate impact and give the club another dependable relief weapon in the push for the postseason.