With the trade deadline a couple days away, the Blue Jays find themselves well positioned in the Wild Card race. The AL East is yet again, absurdly competitive and with the Yankees and Red Sox well within striking distance, Toronto can’t afford to stand pat at the deadline.
The Jays do have a fairly balanced roster, so don’t expect them to make a big splash. However, they could benefit from acquiring a bat to provide a little back-up pop. Perhaps someone that can hit against lefties, such as Tommy Pham or Paul DeJong?
The focus should be on bolstering their pen though and maybe adding an extra arm to space out the rotation. Giving Bassit and Gausman extra rest in the dog days of summer will go a long way in preserving them for October. With Alek Manoah back from his minor league stint and Hyun-jin Ryu returning from the IL, familiar arms are making their way back into the rotation. That being said, we’ll need to see more quality starts from Manoah and be careful easing Ryu back into the fold. This is why adding some depth into the rotation is something the Jays need to consider.
As for the bullpen, there’s room to beef up. Whether it’s veteran presence or younger arms, there’s quite a few players that are out on the market. And now that All-Star closer Jordan Romano is taking a trip to the 15-Day IL, we’re going to have to call in some reinforcements.
So forget all the ‘trade for Shohei’ generators, here are 4 realistic pitching targets that seem like good fits for the direction this Blue Jays team is taking. I’ve also included a 5th pitcher that the Jays should, and will likely, steer clear from.
1. Jordan Hicks (RHP) – St. Louis Cardinals
This is one that makes sense and is someone that I’d definitely like to see the Jays target. After having a very rough start to the season, Hicks has turned his season around and has been a bright spot on this struggling Cardinals squad. With a sweeper that strikes out over 50% of the batter he faces, and a fastball that reaches 100 MPH he would be a great arm to add to the mix. Hicks in recent months has secured the closer role for the Cardinals, which says that he’s a trusted arm in late game situations.
Jordan Hicks will more than likely be on the move, and this is a bullpen arm the Jays have been linked to. Let’s see if they sort out another deal with St. Louis after already striking Génesis Cabrera.
2. Scott Barlow (RHP) – Kansas City Royals
After coming off a career year, Barlow finds his name being bounced around yet again at the trade deadline. He’s a great late inning reliever that the Jays could definitely leverage. Problem is, other contenders will be looking to snag him. The Arizona Diamondbacks, Los Angeles Dodgers, Tampa Bay Rays and New York Yankees are all teams that have rolled with a ‘closer by committee’ look at points within the season, so don’t be surprised if he lands on a squad that is in the thick of the Wild Card race.
The Blue Jays should look at the Royals’ closer as an option with Jordan Romano on his way to the injured list. Back issues are nothing to rush and it could be a while without our go-to.
3. Justin Lawrence (RHP) – Colorado Rockies
To be fair, there are a number of Rockies relievers that will likely be dealt at the deadline before Lawrence. I could have easily included Brad Hand, Daniel Bard or Brent Suter and I’d be happy with any of them. I picked Lawrence because of his arsenal including an incredible sweeper and his sidearm fastball coming in mid to high 90’s. I’m also just a sucker for a sidearm.
I feel like he’s reached his peak with a struggling Rockies team that will look to sell come the deadline. He does have some control issues, but I feel like the Jays could definitely use him. Again, I’ll take any of the above mentioned.
4. Jordan Montgomery (LHP) – St. Louis Cardinals
Why not go back to the Cardinals well and see if we can package Montgomery and Hicks in a deal? Again, our starting rotation could use another arm, a veteran one at that and Montgomery has been linked to the Jays. The 30 year old is as consistent as they come as he’s on track for a 30 plus start season. While his arsenal isn’t flashy his results are hard to argue his effectiveness.
Whether or not you include him as a permanent fixture in the Blue Jays starting rotation, Montgomery would be a great asset heading into the postseason. Having his arm available potentially out of the pen would be huge for this squad.
5. Marcus Stroman (RHP) – Chicago Cubs
There’s been a lot of rumors around Marcus suggesting a Toronto/Stro-Show reunion and quite honestly, I don’t see it at all. Stroman has a pretty checkered past with the Jays front office and I highly doubt Atkins and Shapiro see it in their best interests to rekindle that relationship.
While I do admit, having a rotation of Gausman, Bassitt, Berrios and Stroman going into the playoffs would be pretty filthy, this just doesn’t seem like a fit at this time. From what I’ve gathered, he has 1 year left on his contract at $21 million, and could opt out at the end of the year if he thinks he can do better than that.
He is a ground ball hitter which could pair well with our infield. This just doesn’t seem realistic to me so I suggest Jays fans do not get their hopes up.
👀 NEW LOOK, WHO DIS 👀
New album art, new graphics, new beats, new sponsor, and a new episode with Frank ‘The Tank’ from @barstoolsports
— JOSH ELIJAH (@downbyjosh) July 28, 2023
Touring stand-up comic with Yuk Yuk’s. Host of the ‘Down By Two’ Podcast and ‘DB2 Bets.’ Take him on the over.