2023-07-26 · 3 min read · MLB/Baseball
Randal Grichuk of the Colorado Rockies and Jack Flaherty of the Cardinals

Matthew Stockman/Getty Images | Getty Images

With the Trade Deadline fast approaching, Toronto’s found themselves in a bit of a predicament. At times the team’s looked brilliant - orchestrating sweeps, showcasing the offensive might we all expected of them - yet the road to this point has been so bumpy that many have been left wondering just how committed Rogers will be to dishing out the cash to make a major move.
With that in mind, let us assume that - although we would all welcome it - an Ohtani (or Ohtani-like) trade is out of the picture. Below are five potential Trade Deadline targets that Ross Atkins should consider making a run for, assuming the Blue Jays don’t bottom out over the next few games.
With the Cardinals on the brink of a full-on sale, Jack Flaherty is a name that has come across Ross Atkins’ desk more than once. Toronto fans will notably remember him as the potential return for Josh Donaldson, only to be forced into a deal with Cleveland in exchange for Julian Merryweather. Although having had some command problems this season, Flaherty has toned down the walks and had a very good month of July - a 2.55 ERA with only 8 walks across 24 ⅔ IP, alongside 22 strikeouts. Perhaps not the blockbuster arm once thought of by Jays fans, but a relatively known commodity that wouldn’t cost a ton. That said, management’s interest in starting arms will likely be dependent on how comfortable they feel about Hyun-Jin Ryu’s return and Alek Manoah’s inconsistency - a six-man rotation is not at all likely.
A familiar face, and one who I had to talk myself into. A streaky hitter over parts of four years with Toronto between 2018-21, the now-31-year-old has had quite the offensive season in Colorado, posting a .309/.368/.482 slash line over 59 games. Not the power bat of days past, but someone who the Rockies have effectively transitioned into a platoon role, with great results. Over 11 games in the month of July, Grichuk has swatted a .375 batting average (15 for 40) with four of his six home runs coming since July 2nd. He knows what it’s like to play in Toronto, and with a plethora of outfielders already shuffling around the Blue Jays’ outfield, Grichuk could retain his not-every-day role to minimize Daulton Varsho’s ABs versus lefties.
Speaking of lefties, Brent Suter should (hopefully) be included in any discussions regarding the aforementioned Randal Grichuk. Though Toronto’s posted the second-best bullpen ERA this month (3.50), the lows are still very low when things go south. Suter, a soft-tossing lefty, has pitched to a 3.26 ERA at Coors Field (19 ⅓ IP) and a spectacular 2.13 ERA everywhere else (25 ⅓ IP) - amounting to a 2.62 ERA across 44 ⅔ IP. He doesn’t strike many hitters out (only 37) and is coming back from an Oblique injury that sidelined him for almost a month, but has only allowed earned runs in 8 of the 33 games he’s pitched in - four of which came in June. Outside of a seven-day stretch between June 12-18th, Suter has only allowed 1 earned run away from Coors Field. With Colorado looking to unload anyone who’s been good for them, a combo of Grichuk and Suter would be quite a pickup for Toronto.
Unlike Brent Suter, Sam Moll is a name you likely haven’t heard too much about. Only in his second full season (fourth overall) with Oakland, the 31-year-old lefty had a dominant 2022 posting a 2.91 ERA over 43 ⅓ IP amongst a bad Athletics squad. This season has been somewhat of a step back for Moll - currently holding a 4.50 ERA - which shouldn’t make him too pricey of a target. He hasn’t allowed a run since July 8th and has struck out 44 over 36 innings thus far. A disastrous outing on May 14th has inflated his ERA quite a bit, something he’s tried to work down over time - since then, he has a 3.68 ERA over 22 IP. Perhaps a person of interest if the Genesis Cabrera experiment goes sideways, Moll is a decent lefty to have in the ‘pen.
Can you tell that I think this team needs arms? Kyle Finnegan has been on my list for a few years now, however, I think now is finally the time to swipe him away from the Nats. Like Moll and Grichuk, Finnegan is now 31 - but is well on his way to posting his fourth straight quality season out of Washington’s bullpen. With a 3.24 ERA over 41 ⅔ IP while striking out 40 thus far, he’s turned into - by default - the Nationals’ closer. He’s been on such a roll that, entering June, Finnegan sat at an ERA just below 5.00 and since April 7th, he’s posted a 1.83 ERA(!) with an opponents batting average of .225. He’s been a force to be reckoned with beyond 2 of his first 3 games of the season (in which he gave up 7 runs over 2 ⅓ innings), and someone who would most definitely help out a tired Jays’ bullpen.
Just days away now, a few teams have already made preemptive moves ahead of the August 1st deadline. Colorado traded reliever Pierce Johnson to Atlanta in exchange for RHP Prospects Victor Vodnik (Atlanta’s #10) and Tanner Gordon (Atlanta’s #26). Baltimore acquired RHP Shintaro Fujinami from Oakland for LHP Easton Lucas, while the Dodgers re-acquired UTL Enrique Hernandez from the Red Sox in exchange for RHP Prospects Nick Robertson (Los Angeles’ #25) and Justin Hageman.
As of today, Toronto sits in the 3rd Wild Card spot at 56-45. They would face the winner of the AL Central if playoffs started today.
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By: Gus Cousins


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