Seven days before the August 2 MLB trade deadline, the Toronto Blue Jays will likely try to improve their roster, ESPN insider Buster Olney said.
After sweeping their three-game series against the Boston Red Sox, which they outscored the Boston Red Sox 40-10, the Jays sit second in the standings in the American League East Division and first in the race for the best runners-up. in the American.
Olney predicts the Jays will strengthen at least two crucial elements of their roster before next Tuesday’s deadline.
« They’re going to get a left-handed hitter, like we’ve been talking about since the start of the year, to try to balance the roster and get more favorable matchups for the team, » Olney told the show. First Up of the TSN network. “I don’t know if it will be Josh Bell, who is ambidextrous, or if it will be another guy. I have the impression that they are still waiting for the available players to be clearly identified by the sellers. »
Bell, a Washington Nationals first baseman, is hitting .302 this season with 13 homers and 51 RBIs in 97 games. In 1994 career at-bats, Bell averaged .275, 91 home runs and 330 RBIs.
Olney adds that the Jays will also be looking for a reliever to flesh out a bullpen that ranks 19th in Major League Baseball with a 4.05 ERA and has missed 17 saves, the fifth-most of the circuit.
» I also think that [les Blue Jays] will look for a reliever. I think every suitor is going to get a reliever because the way teams look at relievers now is a lot like NFL teams look at running backs, in the sense that it’s easy to sacrifice them,” added Olney.
« And so if anyone has a reliever that’s good right now, David Bedar of the Pirates is one, Joe Mantiply of the Diamondbacks is another, these teams don’t view these players as blocks in their foundation, they view them as assets and want to capture their value as soon as possible. »
“I think the Jays will get at least one reliever and one left-handed hitter. »
Soto: Jays not among favorites
The Blue Jays have also been rumored as a possible destination for Nationals superstar Juan Soto, who recently turned down a $440 million contract from the team. However, Olney doesn’t think Toronto is among the favorites to acquire the 23-year-old.
“The Blue Jays certainly have the hopes that would see them get a deal done. But Mike Rizzo, the Nationals general manager, is known among his peers as a guy who focuses on a very small group of players. He will approach the trade deadline as he did last year, when Max Scherzer and Trea Turner were available, and say, « It’s the hopes of this organization that I want, and I’m going to keep aiming for them until until I reach an agreement with this team ». »
The Blue Jays have four prospects in the top-100 of MLB Pipeline : receiver Gabriel Moreno (#6), shortstop Orelvis Martinez (#36), starting pitcher Ricky Tiedemann (#63) and infielder Jordan Groshans (#84). However, Olney doesn’t believe Rizzo has his sights set on the Jays’ prospect squad.
“Right now, I don’t consider the Blue Jays to be the favourites. »
Olney adds that five teams are currently in the running for Soto’s services, including the Jays’ division rivals, the New York Yankees.
“The most motivated team is without a doubt the San Diego Padres. They theoretically have a pack of players to potentially strike a deal with. The Cardinals are probably the team with the most Major-ready prospect group that the Nationals might be interested in. The Mariners are also worth considering because they have a chance to make the playoffs for the first time since 2001, I think they’re in the game.
“And you can never ignore the Dodgers and the Yankees. Although I feel like Rizzo doesn’t have a good relationship with the Yankees. There is not a great relationship between them in terms of transactions. This is good news for the Blue Jays. I think it’s more likely than not that he’s going somewhere other than the Yankees. »