Blue Jays acquire pitchers Liriano, Feldman, Bolsinger before trade deadline
The Blue Jays completed three trades before Monday’s 4 p.m. ET non-waiver deadline to address the team’s need for starting pitching depth and bullpen help.
The biggest deal of the day was a swap with the Pittsburgh Pirates that brings left-hander Francisco Liriano and two minor-league prospects to Toronto with pitcher Drew Hutchison going to Pittsburgh. Liriano becomes the immediate favourite to replace Aaron Sanchez in the rotation, even though the 32-year-old has struggled in 2016 with a 5.46 ERA in 21 starts. It’s certainly a step back from the success he had between 2013-15, when his ERA was 3.26 over 86 starts, but there is hope within the organization that being reunited with catcher Russell Martin can spur Liriano to return to form.
Sanchez’s eventual move to the bullpen ater one or two more stats was confirmed by general manager Ross Atkins. The 24-year-old right-hander is 11-1 and has the best ERA in the American League (2.71), but with an innings limit looming, the front office and coaching staff feels the best way to preserve the long-term health of Sanchez’s arm and still have him contribute as the Blue Jays strive to defend their AL East title and return to the playoffs.
Right-hander Scott Feldman was acquired from the Houston Astros for pitching prospect Guadalupe Chavez and represents the immediate relief support. The 33-year-old veteran has primarily been a starter throughout his career, and did make five starts for the Astros this season, but Feldman has posted a 2.41 ERA over 37.1 innings since becoming a reliever at the end of April. He’ll likely be used in a set-up role alongside Sanchez, Brett Cecil and Jason Grilli.
Feldman will take Jesse Chavez’s place on the major-league roster, as Chavez was traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers for right-hander Mike Bolsinger. Bolsinger, 28, will join Triple-A Buffalo and gives Toronto another option to start down the stretch.
Last week the Blue Jays made two moves, adding outfielder Melvin Upton Jr. from San Diego and reliever Joaquin Benoit from Seattle.