The Toronto Blue Jays added closer Brad Hand ahead of the MLB trade deadline getting the bullpen the type of arm it needs but more is still needed.
It’s a move that this team desperately needed considering they don’t have a reliever with Hand’s experience to close out games. The 31-year-old comes to Toronto with 126 career saves to his name a respectable 3.59 ERA with 42 strikeouts while allowing only 18 walks and just 31 hits allowed through 42.2 innings this season.
He relies on his fastball and slider to try and minimize hard contact and managed to get his velocity to increase this season. He isn’t generating as many strikeouts and has more walks this season but with some tweaks, that could improve in Toronto.
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What the Blue Jays gave up in Riley Adams wasn’t a steep price at all considering he has a high strikeout rate at the plate and doesn’t seem like a better option over Reese McGuire, Alejandro Kirk and emerging prospect Gabriel Moreno. Sometimes, this is where a surplus can be used to a team’s advantage and Toronto got it right with this trade.
Of course, there is no guarantee that Hand can be the saviour in the bullpen but the Blue Jays have been slowly building up their relief staff and this likely won’t be the last deal we see.
Toronto Blue Jays’ focus needs to remain on pitching and not just in the bullpen
Looking at past World Series winners and contenders and it’s quite clear that pitching and defence can’t be overlooked.
We have seen Toronto lose out on acquiring offensive players like Kyle Schwarber, Joey Gallo, and Anthony Rizzo. That’s not a problem when you consider what the Blue Jays biggest need it at this time.
The Blue Jays offence is certainly the strength of this team and there should be a genuine effort to look at an upgrade in the rotation. Robbie Ray has been the team’s best starter this season, Alek Manoah has been a welcomed surprise and we’re seeing Steven Matz and Ross Stripling struggle with consistency.
Hyun Jin Ryu has had his moments as well and should be good enough to be an option in the rotation if this team makes the playoffs. However, having Stripling and Matz in the rotation might not be the wisest decision.
This is why acquiring a top end starter can help the Blue Jays in many ways and the Max Scherzer trade to the Los Angeles Dodgers could open the floodgates. The real question is who is available that Toronto can make a priority?
Seeing teams in the AL East improve their lineups should only reinforce the Blue Jays desire to add pitching. At this rate, the top option that they have been linked to is Minnesota Twins starter Jose Berrios.
MLB Network’s Jon Morosi says the Blue Jays are among the teams interested in the 27-year-old who has a 3.48 ERA nd 126 strikeouts through 121.2 innings this season. The added bonus is that Berrios is under contract until 2023 so he would not be a rental at all.
Adding him would provide more legitimacy to this team’s rotation and help them in their push to the playoffs which won’t be easy considering who they have to leapfrog. It also will be a costly addition but at some point, Toronto has to decide whether they want to be a contender and be aggressive.
What do you think about the trade for Hand? Should the Blue Jays be looking to make more moves ahead of the trade deadline? Let us know in the comments below.