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How Blue Jays can deal with largest roster weaknesses at commerce deadline

TORONTO – With eight days remaining earlier than the 2022 commerce deadline, the Toronto Blue Jays have an opportunity to enhance their roster on a few fronts.

Like all groups, the Blue Jays could be higher off with Juan Soto of their lineup. Any GM who’s critical about successful ought to discover trades for Soto, who has already established himself as a Corridor of Fame kind expertise at age 23. However many groups covet Soto and just one can have him. It’s much more doubtless that the Blue Jays will pursue and purchase pitching.

That’s all stating the plain, although. To higher perceive the alternatives in entrance of the Blue Jays, let’s try to determine their wants as exactly as attainable. By seeing what it’s they lack, we are able to higher place ourselves to anticipate their subsequent steps…

THE LATE-SUMMER PROBLEM: CLINCHING

Objectively talking, the Blue Jays are prone to attain the post-season due to a 53-43 file that has them within the AL’s high wild-card spot. They aren’t there but, although, and a deeper beginning rotation would assist flip that probability into actuality.

Perhaps Yusei Kikuchi will get his season again on monitor. Perhaps Max Castillo emerges as a succesful back-end starter. Do you need to depend on these issues occurring, although? And doubtlessly exhaust your bullpen alongside the way in which?

Higher so as to add a beginning pitcher now, particularly as a result of there’s no late-August waiver commerce deadline anymore. If you wish to purchase assist, that is the time.

As a result of Alek Manoah, Kevin Gausman and Jose Berrios might all be trusted to begin playoff video games, the Blue Jays aren’t missing frontline arms. With that in thoughts, they need to decide the supply of pending free brokers like Martin Perez, Jose Quintana, Drew Smyly, Chad Kuhl, Noah Syndergaard, and Zack Greinke. It’s not essentially the most thrilling group, but it surely doesn’t should be.

Whereas Perez and Quintana doubtless have some actual commerce worth, historical past tells us that veteran pitch-to-contact varieties merely don’t command huge hauls on the deadline (even Syndergaard, the toughest thrower of this group and somebody the Blue Jays pursued final winter, has a below-average strikeout price). Of the pitchers listed above, Perez could also be the most effective match as he’s a floor ball pitcher who instructions the strike zone fairly properly (14.2 per cent Okay-BB%).

Regardless, including a pitcher from this cohort would deal with a necessity on the big-league degree with out meaningfully depleting Toronto’s prospect ranks.

THE EARLY OCTOBER PROBLEM: POWER RELIEF

It is Sunday, Oct. 9, and also you’re enjoying Sport 3 of the Wild Card sequence at Tropicana Discipline. Along with your season on the road, Berrios offers you five-plus stable innings, however runners are on the corners now and it’s time to bail him out of the sixth inning. You want strikeouts. Who’s pitching?

Based mostly on the present roster, John Schneider might be calling on David Phelps (21.9 per cent Okay-rate), Adam Cimber (19.8 per cent Okay-rate) or Tim Mayza (20.5 per cent Okay-rate), however all three have below-average strikeout charges in comparison with the MLB aid common of 23.5 per cent. Season on the road, you need to equip Schneider with higher choices. As a result of even when the above situation is clearly a hypothetical, these conditions will come up if the Blue Jays are going to play in – and win – 4 playoff rounds.

Final 12 months, the Blue Jays took a bulk strategy to the bullpen, including Cimber, Trevor Richards, Brad Hand and Joakim Soria. However amount didn’t equate to amount, and the necessity for high-leverage aid assist endured. Including Yimi Garcia helped, as he appears like a viable candidate for season-on-the-line aid work, however the Blue Jays hoped others would emerge internally solely to see Nate Pearson and Julian Merryweather have their seasons derailed by accidents.

Now, the necessity for aid stays as evident as ever, and this time the Blue Jays should prioritize high quality, even when meaning paying a better value. Sure, searching for one thing as inherently unstable as aid pitching can backfire, however not including aid could be an excellent riskier selection for a workforce with a lot potential.

Among the many relievers value investigating additional: Gregory Soto and Joe Jimenez of the Tigers, Joe Mantiply of the Diamondbacks, Jorge Lopez of the Orioles, David Robertson of the Cubs, A.J. Puk of the A’s, Kyle Finnegan of the Nationals, Scott Barlow of the Royals, David Bednar of the Pirates, Matt Bush of the Rangers and Anthony Bass of the Marlins.

The Blue Jays wouldn’t have to surrender their best possible prospects to buy on this tier (particularly for Robertson, a rental), but when they’ve to surrender some intriguing expertise so as to add right here, so be it. And realistically, the Blue Jays could be higher off with a number of arms from this group.

THE SMALL-SCALE PROBLEM: THE BENCH

A month in the past, the bench seemed like an even bigger concern however as Raimel Tapia and Cavan Biggio have performed higher, the necessity for a longtime left-handed or switch-hitting bat alongside the traces of Ian Happ has began to look extra like a luxurious. This may occasionally nudge the Blue Jays to prioritize different wants, but it surely’s at all times value exploring upgrades, irrespective of how small. Count on the bench to be on their radar, too.

Some prospects to contemplate: is there a centre fielder who can spell George Springer almost in addition to Bradley Zimmer whereas offering extra offence than the present backup? Is there a lefty bat who can supply extra offence than Zack Collins? Or comparable offence with extra defensive worth?

THE 2023 PROBLEM: MORE ARMS NEEDED

To this point, the wants we’ve examined cowl the 2022 season, however since Hyun-Jin Ryu will doubtless miss all of subsequent 12 months and Kikuchi’s one thing of an unknown as properly, there’s additionally a case to be made for including a pitcher with a number of years of management.

Pursuing Reds commerce candidate Luis Castillo is smart even when the acquisition price is way better than it might be for, say, Quintana. Alongside these traces, it’s value asking the Marlins about Pablo Lopez and others. Perhaps the value is prohibitively excessive, during which case the Blue Jays don’t have to act desperately, however there may very well be a chance right here, too.

Final summer season’s deal for Berrios confirmed the Blue Jays aren’t against any such commerce below the proper circumstances. Beginning right here is smart and if it doesn’t work out, a short-term fallback starter might nonetheless assist this workforce attain the 2022 playoffs. And both manner: the Blue Jays’ entrance workplace should add influence aid for the deadline to be a transparent success.

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