With one day to deal the Blue Jays four-year history of trade deadline transactions since regaining relevancy is as buyers
Since contending again starting in 2020 the Jays have made 17 trades in the 35 days leading to the deadline
The Blue Jays on Monday afternoon welcomed their newest marquee bullpen acquisition, Jordan Hicks, from the Cardinals into the heat of an AL East division race. They wore their alternate red jerseys on this night, normally worn only on Canada Day. In fact, there was a time when the red shirts were in regular rotation, but the team’s record in red was not good and that history repeated itself in a 4-2 loss to the first-place O’s in the first of a four game series.
The decision to wear red on this night was made, according to manager John Schneider, in order to make the flamethrowing righthander, Hicks, feel immediately at home, coming over from the Cardinals, where the colour red rules the roost under the Gateway Arch.
“I had a smile on my face and I’m just excited to be here,” Hicks said of his T-O arrival, at a press briefing prior to batting practice. “I’ve got a chance to be with a competitive team to finish the season. Get a chance to win a ring. Get a chance to help this bullpen out and help this team. It’s a great group of young guys. As (St. Louis) got closer to the deadline, we weren’t winning games and I started to think (being traded) was a possibility.”
Hicks, who in 2023, has recorded more pitches at 100+ miles-per-hour than anyone in baseball, warmed up briefly for his new team in the eighth inning, but the Jays’ rally stalled and he sat down in favour of Bowden Francis, the righthander who had been recalled from AAA-Buffalo to replace Jay Jackson who was returning home to Utah to join his wife and newborn son.
Hicks, a 26-year-old Texas native, was greeted warmly by fans in the hotel lobby as he was checking in and, later, by his new teammates in the clubhouse. In terms of the familiarity factor, Hicks already knew fellow reliever Genesis Cabrera, who, himself, had arrived from the Cardinals nine days earlier. He said he also knows Alek Manoah, having vacationed at the same resort in Mexico this past off-season while sharing the same representation.
In the process of losing the series opener, the Jays may have also lost shortstop Bo Bichette to a right knee injury. The Jays’ all-star lined a base hit towards the right field corner in the third inning, but the ball was cut off by Anthony Santander with Bo slamming on the brakes, then grabbing his knee and being tagged out. The initial report was right knee discomfort.
“We’re still kind of gathering information to see what we’re going to do next,” manager John Schneider said. “He said he kind of jammed it a little bit when he was trying to stop. With a guy like him you want to be really proactive.” There will be a further report Tuesday afternoon.
If there was any sort of bright side glimmer to ponder for Schneider moving forward, it was that the O’s were forced to use their all-star closer, Felix Bautista, for five outs and 35 pitches, leaving his availability for Tuesday in doubt. However, the negative side of that Bautista coin was that two of the five Jays outs in his 1.2 innings were recorded on 99 mph fastballs that were inches out of the strike zone, that umpire Jeremy Riggs called strike three.
“(Our guys) did a good job of controlling the strike zone…and I don’t think Felix Bautista needs any help,” said a terse Schneider as he wrapped up his post-game.
A note on Tuesday. It marks the start of the Jays’ experiment with a six-man rotation and the return to the mound of lefthander Hyun Jin Ryu. The $20-million man has been sidelined as he recovered from Tommy John surgery. His last start was June 1, 2022 against the White Sox.
History of deadline-month trades since returning to relevancy in 2020.
Following is a chronological listing of the 17 trades completed by the Blue Jays completed in the final 34 days, prior to all trade deadlines, since the club re-emerged as post-season contenders during the shortened COVID-19 year. They lost 95 games in 2019 and had been sellers.
Aug. 24: obtained 1B Daniel Vogelbach from M’s for Cash
Aug. 27: obtained RH Taijuan Walker from M’s for OF Alberto Rodriguez
Aug. 31: obtained LH Robbie Ray from D’backs for LH Travis Bergen
Aug. 31: obtained 2B Jonathan Villar from Marlins for OF Griffin Conine
Aug. 31: obtained RH Ross Stripling from Dodgers for RH Kendall Williams + OF Ryan Noda
June 29: obtained RH Adam Cimber + OF Corey Dickerson from Marlins for 2B Joe Panik + RH Andrew McInvale
July 6: obtained RH Trevor Richards + RH Bowden Francis from Brewers for 1B Rowdy Tellez
July 29: obtained RH Brad Hand from Nats for C Riley Adams
July 30: obtained RH Jose Berrios from Twins for IF Austin Martin + RH Simeon Woods-Richardson
July 30: obtained RH Joakim Soria from D’backs for LH Yaifer Perdomo + C J.J. D’Orazio
July 16: obtained LH Foster Griffin from Royals for RH Jonathan Bernal
Aug. 2: obtained RH Anthony Bass+ RH Zach Pop + C Edward Duran from Marlins for SS Jordan Groshans
Aug. 2: obtained RH Mitch White + 2B Alex DeJesus from Dodgers for RH Nick Frasso + LH Moises Brito
Aug. 2: obtained 2B Whit Merrifield from Royals for RH Max Castillo + 2B Samad Taylor
July 21: obtained LH Genesis Cabrera from Cards for C Sammy Hernandez
July 26: obtained SS Mason McCoy from M’s for RH Trent Thornton
July 30: obtained RH Jordan Hicks from Cards for RH Adam Kloffenstein + RH Sem Robberse
Summary: Within those 17 Blue Jays deadline deals, the Jays have acquired 22 players and surrendered 23. Of the 22 players obtained by the Jays leading up to the deadlines, eight of those -- Berrios, Merrifield, Richards, Hicks, Cimber, Francis, Pop and Cabrera -- remain on the 40-man roster.