Blue Jays payroll flexibility could be used as leverage at trade deadline

One of the factors the front office should consider is that the 32-year-old’s results haven’t been all that great in 2022. He currently boasts a 3.45 ERA, however, his strikeout rate has fallen at a career low. 15.9%, which looks even worse next to its walk rate of 7.6%. Additionally, his fWAR rating sits at just 0.1, meaning he barely made much of an impact.

As for Kelly, including his contract in a trade would be much more reasonable for Toronto. The 33-year-old is signed until 2024, which would be a big commitment, although he earns $5.25m in 22, $8.5m in 23 and 24, and he has an option to $7 million club with a $1 million buyout in ’25. Its results are also much more attractive.

In his fourth season with Arizona, the right-hander has a 3.46 ERA, 3.57 ERA and 3.26 FIP in 78.0 innings in 14 starts. He also boasts a strikeout rate of 20.3%, a walk rate of 8.9% and an fWAR rating of 1.6.

If the Blue Jays wanted to improve their bench, however, it would make more sense to assume that Peralta’s $22 million contract expires over three years. The 34-year-old is making $8 million this season and will be eligible for free agency this offseason, making him a pure hire.

As a left-handed outfielder, Peralta likely wouldn’t be a game-changing acquisition as he’s only hitting .234/.304/.433 in 224 plate appearances in 61 games this season. However, he has eight homers and an ISO of 0.199 – the highest of his career since 2018. That kind of production could prove useful over time, especially within Toronto’s right-handed heavy lineup.

Ultimately, how much salary the Blue Jays are willing to accept will likely determine their chances of landing a quality reliever from the Diamondbacks as well. Ideally, Joe Mantiply and Kyle Nelson would be the top two picks.

Both pitchers would come with multiple seasons of team testing as neither is eligible for arbitration until 2024 at the earliest. They have each performed extremely well this season. With Mantiply showing an ERA below one and Nelson below two. Neither pitcher has walked many batters and they are each capable of inducing a significant amount of swings and misses with ground balls.

Given that Mantiply and Nelson are both left-handed, either could help compliment Tim Mayza at the back of the Toronto bullpen. The team would then have two dependable southpaws rather than just one, allowing them to attack well-rounded rosters like the New York Yankees much more effectively.

Because as it stands, if the Blue Jays hope to enjoy a long playoff streak, it looks like they’ll have to get past the wild card streak first and then through the Yankees in the round of division. But by making a creative trade or two, they could dramatically improve their chances of overtaking one of the top teams in the AL.

The road to October remains in the distant future, however, the choices that will be made over the next month will no doubt play a central role in determining the post-season success of this franchise.

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