It’s officially Trade Speculation Season. What should the Blue Jays be looking for?
Photo credit:Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports
By Cam Lewis1 year ago
There’s a famous baseball quote that states that the season is split into three parts: You have two months to figure out what you’ve got, two months to figure out how to get what you need, and then two months to win.
The calendar has flipped from May to June, so that means that it’s officially Trade Speculation Season. What should the Blue Jays be looking for in order to improve the team?
The Blue Jays are currently riding a six-game winning streak, their longest of the season, after Tuesday night’s 6-5 win over the Chicago White Sox. Kevin Gausman tossed five innings and scattered three runs. When he left the game, the Blue Jays had just put together a four-run rally in the bottom of the fifth inning and led 6-3.
While Gausman wound up with the win, it was a very shaky ride after he was pulled. Trevor Richards came in and couldn’t get anybody out and Adam Cimber had to come in and clean up the mess. If not for an incredible throw by Lourdes Gurriel and some hilariously dumb baserunning by the White Sox, the game would have been tied in the sixth. After that, Yimi Garcia tossed a scoreless frame, and then Julian Merryweather and Jordan Romano danced around two hits each in the eighth in ninth innings to finish things off.
All told, the bullpen tossed four frames and allowed two runs on seven hits and two walks while picking up four strikeouts.
After a month of April in which the bullpen was a key part of the team’s early success, May was a bit more of a rocky ride for Toronto’s relief pitchers. We’ve seen this recently, as the bullpen imploded in the first game in St. Louis last week, had some struggles in Anaheim over the weekend, and nearly coughed up a lead against the White Sox on Tuesday.
Though it isn’t anywhere near as much of a mess as it was last season, adding to the bullpen is yet again a priority for the Blue Jays in June of 2022. With Tim Mayza on the shelf and Ryan Borucki proving to be ineffective, adding a lefty reliever will be a priority for the front office. It would also be ideal for the Blue Jays to add an arm to their ‘pen who can come into situations much like the sixth inning in Tuesday’s game and rack up strikeouts.
Nate Pearson might be an option to fill part of this void internally, but there doesn’t appear to be anybody beyond Mayza in the organization who can step in and be the high-quality lefty that the Blue Jays need.
The other area of need that sticks out very obviously is adding a quality left-handed bat to the lineup. This isn’t something that anybody really needed two months to figure out, but, at this stage, we can fairly comfortably say that none of Raimel Tapia, Cavan Biggio, Zach Collins, or Bradley Zimmer represent the ideal lefty bat to toss into the middle of the lineup to diversify Toronto’s offence.
As fun as it is to dream about some kind of Juan Soto mega deal, that obviously isn’t actually going to happen. Some names that make sense for the Blue Jays to fill the lefty bat void are Josh Bell of the Washington Nationals, Andrew Benintendi of the Kansas City Royals, Tyler Naquin of the Cincinnati Reds, and Ian Happ of the Chicago Cubs.
One other thing worth mentioning is the starting rotation. Gausman and Alek Manoah have been an excellent one-two punch at the top of the rotation but it’s been a mixed bag after that. Yusei Kikuchi has been good lately after a rough start, and the same goes for Hyun Jin Ryu, who’s bounced back nicely after a stint on the Injured List with left-arm shittyness. And then there’s also Jose Berrios, who’s been up and down thus far with peripheral numbers that look nothing like the pitcher he’s been throughout his career.
Ross Stripling was effective when he filled Ryu’s spot in the rotation when the lefty was on the Injured List, so there’s a capable sixth starter in the mix, but you can never have too much starting pitching depth.
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