5 Relievers to Bolster the Blue Jays Bullpen at the Trade Deadline

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It’s no secret the Blue Jays will add some bullpen help at the 2022 trade deadline.

Toronto’s relievers entered Friday with the 14th-best bullpen ERA in baseball, 25th in FIP, and 25th in fWAR.

The framework of a solid armbarn is there. Jordan Romano has closed the door effectivly all season and the Jays have five regular relievers with ERAs under three. But past the bullpen core, the Jays haven’t had anyone else step up.

So, with days until the 2022 trade deadline, the Blue Jays are set to reshape the rest of the ‘pen with outside additions. Here are five or so relievers who would bolster Toronto’s bullpen ahead of August 2:

The Controllable Stoppers:

LHP Gregory Soto, Tigers

The Blue Jays could use another lefty in the ‘pen and some more swing-and-miss heat. How about solving both problems with one big move, and having that fix for the next three years?

Soto throws the hardest southpaw fastball in baseball and would immediately elevate the back of Toronto’s bullpen. A back-to-back All-Star, the 27-year-old has his bouts with control troubles, but he suppresses homers and racks up strikeouts enough to be worth the heavy deadline investment he’d cost.

I still believe the Blue Jays’ inevitable catching move comes in the offseason, but Tigers catchers have earned the sixth-least WAR in baseball this season. Perhaps there’s a fit for Danny Jansen, as Tigers writer Cody Stavenhagen suggested earlier this season.

Other Tigers relievers like Michael Fulmer and Joe Jiménez would certainly fit Toronto’s deadline needs, too.

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RHP Scott Barlow, Royals

A rare Royal allowed to cross the border, Barlow has been Kansas City’s best reliever for the last few seasons. He’s had a called-strike plus whiff percentage over 30% (anything over 30 is very good) in each of his five MLB seasons.

Barlow may not be your traditional swing-and-miss addition, throwing his heater just 24% of the time, but his breaking stuff is nasty. Against Barlow’s slider and curveball (his two primary deliveries) opponents have hit just .155 this season, chasing them out of the zone 40% of the time. He has two more years of arb eligibility after this season.

Scott Barlow’s Slider

LHP Joe Mantiply, Diamondbacks

In Mantiply, the Blue Jays would have their seventh All-Star this season. 

The DBacks southpaw pounds the zone, with baseball’s best walk rate among qualified relievers, working a balanced mix of fastballs, curves, and changeups. While the strikeouts sit at about one per inning, he can still miss bats and has one of the best chase rates in MLB. The 31-year-old is under team control for the next 4.5 seasons, only arb eligible for the first time in 2024.

The Rental Relievers:

RHP Anthony Bass

Bass has quietly been one of baseball’s most reliable relievers over the last five years, with a 3.11 ERA in 194 innings for four different franchises, including a stop in Toronto (actually Buffalo). In his age 34 season, Bass shows no signs of stopping either. He has the 11th-best FIP among qualified relievers (1.95) sandwhiched between Craig Kimbrel and Joe Jiménez.

RHP Chris Martin

Another veteran righty with prestine peripherals, Martin has been far better than his 4.31 ERA indicates. The righty’s K%-B% (a pitching metric the Blue Jays value) is one of the best in the league, above established closers like David Bednar and Emmanuel Clase. Martin sports a 95 MPH fastball and a bevy of other cutting and breaking pitches, including a splitter he learned from Shohei Ohtani.

Chris Martin’s splitter

The Cubs have a few other reliable arms in David Robertson and Mychal Givens who should interest Toronto, too.