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Jays Sell the Pen Ahead of Trade Deadline

Sign of Blue Jays at store in Eaton Centre Toronto.

With two months left to tank, the Toronto Blue Jays put an “EVERYTHING MUST GO” sign on their bullpen ahead of the July 31 trade deadline, selling low on their highest-value player, SP Marcus Stroman, and shipping out several relievers to contenders.

Stroman was dealt to the New York Mets for two non-Top 100 prospects, pitchers Anthony Kay and Simeon Woods Richardson, in a move that came by surprise since the Mets were expected to sell due to their non-contender status.

One comment from an anonymous Blue Jays source also raised questions of institutional racism within the Jays organization when claiming Stroman, one of the final remaining members of the Jays’ 2015 and 2016 playoff teams, was not really a “veteran” and would “fit right in like he is supposed to do” on a team with White SPs Jacob deGrom and Noah Syndergaard, who both made their MLB debuts after Stroman.

Toronto also dealt RP David Phelps to the Chicago Cubs with cash in exchange for another pitching prospect, Thomas Hatch. RP Daniel Hudson was sent to the Washington Nationals for minor-league pitcher Kyle Johnston. In a final move on July 31, SP Aaron Sanchez and RP Joe Biagini departed for Houston along with OF prospect Cal Stevenson in return for AAA OF Derek Fisher.

One notable name left off the trading block was RP Ken Giles, who has put up elite numbers for Toronto in 2019, generating interest from contending teams seeking bullpen help until elbow issues kept him from making relief appearances just ahead of the deadline.

Rather than paint the Jays’ moves as a step towards developing new talent to bolster a future contender, GM Ross Atkins asserted the team had “turned 14 years of control into 42 years of control” during a July 31 conference call, which struck a sour note with fans still reeling from the Stroman trade.

With two starting pitchers now wearing new uniforms and a third lost to a season-ending ACL injury, the Jays will likely be shuttling starters through a revolving door between AAA Buffalo and Toronto for the remainder of the season and beyond.

The Jays continue their current road trip with a four-game set opening in Baltimore this evening at 7:05 PM ET. Matchup: Trent Thornton (3-7, 5.45 ERA) vs. TBD. Support the site by purchasing your tickets from SeatGeek!

Featured Image: Lester Balajadia /