The Toronto Blue Jays reached an agreement with the Minnesota Twins Friday for a trade that will send Jose Berrios north of the border for a couple of top prospects.
The Twins’ top ace had been slated to start against the St. Louis Cardinals this afternoon but will now be packing his bags with greener pastures on the horizon.
Blue Jays Acquire Jose Berrios
Berrios was the best pitcher left on the trade market after Max Scherzer and Danny Duffy were lured to Los Angeles yesterday, and Toronto desperately needed to upgrade their bullpen. The Twin-turned-Blue Jay has gone 7-5 with a 3.48 earned run average this season for a 43-60 ball club.
Toronto had its hand forced into upgrading the roster by its American League East opponents, three of which made high-profile moves ahead of the deadline: the New York Yankees brought in Joey Gallo and Anthony Rizzo, the Boston Red Sox acquired Kyle Schwarber, and the Tampa Bay Rays got Nelson Cruz and JT Chargois in separate deals.
The 27-year-old newcomer will slot into a rotation of pitchers that have produced the 12th-best team ERA, though they have struggled to contain divisional opponents. Toronto’s move for Berrios is a sign of intent to compete for the postseason despite their fourth-place standing in the American League East, 9.5 games behind the first-place Boston Red Sox.
OFFICIAL: We’ve acquired RHP José Berríos from the Twins in exchange for SS/OF Austin Martin and RHP Simeon Woods Richardson.
— Toronto Blue Jays (@BlueJays) July 30, 2021
For as much value as Berrios has for a team in need of quality pitching, the Blue Jays mortgaged quite a bit of their future to get him, sending Austin Martin, last year’s fifth-overall draft pick, and Simeon Woods-Richardson, Toronto’s top pitching prospect, to Minnesota; they were the second and fourth-ranked prospects in the Blue Jays’ system.
Martin has hit .281 while Woods-Richardson is 2-4 with a 5.76 ERA in Double-A this season.
Notably, Berrios only has a year-and-a-half left on his current contract and has made it clear that he intends to hit the open market once his deal is up.
“[I will have been] waiting six years, almost seven, to get where every player wants to be — a free agent, able to maximize our value,” said Berrios earlier this month.
Of course, these comments were made before he was sent North of the border, and his outlook could change now that he is joining a franchise in a more favorable position.
Berrios Will Fit into the Puzzle Just Fine
As a member of Toronto’s organization, Berrios will slide in alongside Robbie Ray and Hyun Jin Ryu atop the rotation and will continue to be leaned upon to deliver victories, albeit with much more hitting talent around him.
Berrios has allowed six earned runs in three games (18 innings) against AL East opponents this season, having faced the Baltimore Orioles twice and the Red Sox once.
The Blue Jays will be playing their first game in their Toronto stadium since 2019 on Friday, having been forced into calling a triple-A stadium in Buffalo, New York for the first half of the year. Berrios will join his new teammates over the next couple of days and could even feature in their current series against the Kansas City Royals, which they will need to sweep to remain in contention for a playoff spot.
Now that the last priority target at starting pitcher has been taken off the board, the trade market will be mostly focused on position players; Berrios will help the Blue Jays’ issues with consistency, and their offensive ability will help him pursue another postseason appearance.
The trade deadline will go into effect at 4:00 p.m. ET.
Grant Mitchell is a sportswriter and multimedia contributor for the Sports 2.0 Network dealing with basketball, football, soccer, and other major sports: you can connect with him on Twitter @milemitchell to stay up to date with the latest sports news and to engage personally with him