The Blue Jays have been on a tear since the All-Star break, sweeping the Boston Red Sox with a franchise record 28-5 victory before splitting a two-game series with the St. Louis Cardinals. With the Detroit Tigers in town, the Jays will look for the series win today, hoping to take three of four before heading south to face the Tampa Bay Rays.
It has been an up-and-down July for the Jays, a team that went through a manager change just prior to the All-Star break with Charlie Montoyo getting the boot and bench coach John Schneider taking over in the interim until the end of the campaign. Schneider has tinkered with the lineup and been a bit more aggressive on the base paths since the promotion and currently owns a 9-3 record since taking over the manager role.
With all this in mind, the Blue Jays currently hold the first AL Wild Card spot with a handful of teams hot on their trail, shaping up to what should be a fantastic finish in the American League for playoff positions. Factor in that the trade deadline is just days away and a lot can happen that will shape the rest of the season for both the Jays and the rest of the AL.
While the club has a few areas that could be improved upon, the biggest need is in the bullpen, as the Blue Jays relievers sport a collective 3.91 ERA on the year and currently rely on a group consisting of Adam Cimber, Yimi Garcia, Tim Mayza, David Phelps, and Jordan Romano in high-pressure situations, with the remaining arms either being unreliable or floating between the MLB and Triple-A. The Jays will need to change this if they want to stay in the battle for the postseason, and there are three relievers I think the Blue Jays should go after before Tuesday’s trade deadline.
A Strikeout Reliever the Blue Jays Desperately Need
Joe Jiménez – RHP
The Detroit Tigers are not only in Toronto this weekend but they have also showcased a few different relievers that could be traded before the deadline.
Joe Jiménez is one of those pitchers, as the Puerto Rican product is having a great season and currently owns a 3.00 ERA with a 12.7 K/9 through 39.0 innings of relief. The Blue Jays need a reliever who can throw gas and strike out opposing hitters and Jiménez checks those boxes with his 95-96 MPH fastball and 88 percentile Whiff % and 98 percentile K%. Not to mention that he also struck out the side in his lone inning against the Jays.
The Tigers have other arms potentially available in Michael Fulmer, Andrew Chafin, and Gregory Soto but Jiménez might be the prime target of them all for the Blue Jays in terms of fit. Soto is going to command a high return given his years of control (free agent in 2026) while Chafin is unvaccinated, making him subject to Canadian and United States entry quarantine requirements which wouldn’t bode well for the Jays.
Fulmer is one pitcher that could fit in well but his high walk rate and looming free agency have Jiménez higher on the trade fit list in my opinion (he is free agent eligible after next season).
Looking at a Former AL East Rival
David Robertson – RHP
If the Blue Jays are looking for veteran experience, a reliever pitching extremely well, who is no stranger to the Rogers Centre, Chicago Cubs closer David Robertson is one of the best fits for the Jays relief corps.
The former Yankees bullpen arm is pitching fantastic this year, sporting a 2.23 ERA through 40.1 innings with 14 saves. The right-hander has allowed just 10 earned runs this season and limited opponents to a .162 batting average, meaning a lot of teams will be interested in the veteran hurler before Tuesday’s trade deadline.
Robertson also has experience at the Rogers Centre through his nine seasons with the Yankees, owning a 2.83 ERA with 42 strikeouts through 41.1 innings pitched. He also won a World Series with the Yankees back in 2009 and has 37.2 innings of postseason experience, which would be a great asset to have amongst the Blue Jays’ younger core.
He would be a pure rental but if the Jays can find a way to package him alongside switch-hitter Ian Happ, this deal looks like one that would benefit the Blue Jays in multiple areas.
A Pitcher with Blue Jays Experience
Anthony Bass – RHP
One pitcher on the list who has previous experience with the Blue Jays is right-hander Anthony Bass. He suited up in 26 games for the Jays back in 2020 and sported a 3.51 ERA through 25.2 innings with a 1.013 WHIP and a 7.4 K/9. He led the team that season in saves (seven) and appearances while also giving up just two home runs on the season.
Bass would leave the team in the offseason and sign a two-year $5 million deal with the Miami Marlins including a team option for the 2023 season worth $3 million.
Bass has been one of the best Marlins relievers this season and currently owns a 1.41 ERA and a 2.07 FIP through 45 appearances. His 9.1 K/9 is currently trending to be one of the highest of his career and he continues to succeed in keeping the ball from going over the fence with just one home run allowed on the season. Follow that with an impressive 2.0 BB/9 and an additional year of contract control, and Bass would be a great addition to the Jays’ bullpen if the Marlins are willing to deal him.