The Toronto Blue Jays swung a big deal ahead of the MLB trade deadline. As the team gets set to return to Toronto, they have acquired starting pitcher José Berríos from the Minnesota Twins.
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The Toronto Blue Jays have made a series of deals this season to bolster the bullpen. They brought in Adam Cimber from the Miami Marlins, then doubled down by acquiring Brad Hand from the Washington Nationals. The Blue Jays trade deadline strategy is obvious now with the Berríos deal. The team is all-in, reminiscent of the 2015 season.
The Blue Jays are 9.5 games behind the Boston Red Sox for first place in the AL East. They trail the second wild card by 4.5 games. According to Fangraphs, Toronto has a 26.0% chance of making the 2021 postseason. The Blue Jays trade is about more than just this season though. The return to Canada this weekend factors in as well in rewarding a fan base starving to watch any baseball, but especially a pennant chase.
Blue Jays trade for a top starting pitcher in Berríos
Let’s start with what Toronto is getting from Minnesota. Berríos was drafted in the first round of the 2012 MLB Draft. Over six seasons in Minnesota, the righty has a 55-43 record, with 4.08 earned run average. Berríos was an all-star in 2018 and 2019 and has been incredibly durable during his career.
In 2021, the Bayamon, Puerto Rico native has made 20 starts with a 3.48 ERA. Over this season, he has struck out 9.3 batters per nine innings. Berríos is under team control through the 2022 season and is just 27 years old. He fits nicely into the Blue Jays window for several years going forward.
This is not strictly a rental for Toronto. This is a deal for this season’s playoff push and future years. That’s is why they were able to put as much talent into the trade as they did.
Top prospects are given up in Blue Jays trade
The Twins got a considerable return from the Blue Jays in this deal. Martin is the gem of the trade for Minnesota, rated the #16 overall prospect in baseball. Toronto is dealing from a position of strength, with a strong farm system even after this transaction. The Blue Jays selected him fifth in the 2020 draft. The 22-year-old can play in the infield or outfield. Scouts felt he was the top hitter in his draft class, per his MLB.com scouting report.
Given how loaded Toronto is for position players, and especially considering their age, Martin became expendable. That is not to say that he will not be an excellent big-leaguer, all indications are that he will be. This is about the window of title contention opening up for the next few years and having to add pitching to the embarrassment of riches in the batter’s box.
Woods-Richardson was rated the 68th prospect by MLB.com and is a fine get for the Twins in his own right. The former second-rounder of the New York Mets came over in the Marcus Stroman deal in 2019. According to MLB.com, the 20-year-old profiles as a number two or three starting pitcher in the big leagues. He is 2-4 with a 5.48 ERA in 11 starts with AA New Hampshire this season. The Sugar Land, TX native has struck out 67 batters in 45.1 innings pitched.
What do you think of the Blue Jays trade for José Berríos? Do you think the team will make any more deals before the trade deadline? Let us know in the comments below.