The Toronto Blue Jays have added to their bullpen. The cost? Teoscar Hernandez.
Jeff Passan broke the news on Tuesday morning that Hernandez had been dealt to the Seattle Mariners. Shortly after, Ryan Divish of The Seattle Times reported that right-handed relief pitcher Erik Swanson and pitching prospect Adam Macko would be heading to Toronto in exchange.
Swanson was a key part of Seattle’s dominant bullpen last season. He posted a 1.68 ERA over 53 2/3 innings in 2022 and struck out 11.7 batters per nine innings while walking only 1.7 per nine.
Originally selected by the Rangers in the eighth round of the 2014 draft, Swanson was moved to the New York Yankees in August of 2016 in a trade that sent Carlos Beltran to Texas. A couple of years later, the Yankees sent Swanson to Seattle as part of the return for James Paxton.
Macko is ranked as Seattle’s No. 8 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline. Born in Slovakia, he was selected by the Mariners in the seventh round of the 2019 draft out of Vauxhall High School in Alberta.
In 2022, Macko posted a 3.99 ERA over 38 1/3 innings for Seattle’s High-A affiliate in the Northwest League, the same league that the Vancouver Canadians play in. Macko also struck out 14.1 batters per nine innings.
When the Mariners drafted him in the seventh round in 2019, he was in the 150-155-pound range, and he’s since bulked up to 205, which has helped bring his stuff along in an incredibly positive way. Averaging 88 mph right after he signed, he averaged around 93.5 mph in 2021 and topped out at 97 as recently as the club’s Gas Camp this offseason, with more bite. While Macko’s curveball has always been his bread and butter, and that pitch has improved, his new slider might end up his best weapon, sitting around 83-85 mph with a lot of sweep. Overall, he struck out 36.1% of the batters he faced last season.
Teoscar is eligible for one more round of arbitration this winter and will then be able to hit the open market as a free agent for the first time in his career following the 2023 season. MLB Trade Rumours projected
that he’ll earn $14.1 million in arbitration this winter.
Swanson, meanwhile, is arb-eligible for the first time this off-season, so this trade opens up some financial wiggle room for the Blue Jays ahead of free agency.