Three relief pitchers to consider trading this year

PHILADELPHIA, PENNSYLVANIA – SEPTEMBER 26: Chris Stratton #46 of the Pittsburgh Pirates pitches in the ninth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on September 26, 2021 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

With the current CBA negotiations and lockdown stalling all Major League deals, the hope is that something is set in stone before spring training rolls around. This would allow the Blue Jays to make a few more trades or signings before the team arrives in Dunedin, adding to the squad in various areas that need some finishing touches ahead of Opening Day.

One of those areas is the bullpen, with the club needing an extra arm or two to fill out the rest of the relief corps heading into the 2022 season. The signing of Yimi Garcia and the addition of David Phelps on a minor league deal before the lockout were two solid moves to go along with the current core of Tim Mayza, Adam Cimber, Trevor Richards and Jordan Romano.

There are a few relief pitchers still available in the free agent market, but there are also relievers potentially available for trade who would help finish the Blue Jays bullpen in 2022.

Let’s explore three of these options.

Chris Stratton – RHP

A former San Francisco Giants first-round pick, right-handed Chris Straton began to find his groove in the bullpen after dabbling as a starter earlier in his career. Stratton found himself traded to Pittsburgh in 2019 and has posted stellar numbers since landing on the East Coast, hitting a combined 3.69 ERA in 123 outings. The 2021 campaign was particularly strong for Stratton, as he appeared in a career-high 68 games and posted a career-high 9.8 K/9 with 1,298 WHIP with eight saves on both fronts.

Mississippi product enters its second year of refereeing (projected $2.2 million) and pitching for a Pirates organization that projects to be bottom of the National League East this year. With the former Blue Jays manager Ben Cherington leads the charge in Pittsburgh, a deal for Stratton shouldn’t break the prospect bank, but still add a right-handed back-up option that keeps Romano in the closer role and has a solid track record to work with.

Garland K. Long