The 2023 MLB trade deadline is fast approaching, with Aug. 1 appearing closer and closer with each passing day. This year’s deadline could shape up to be one of the most pivotal of all time for Ontario sports betting, with 2018 AL rookie of the year, 2021 AL MVP and current MLB Home Run leader Shohei Ohtani reportedly on the trading block, perhaps setting up the biggest potential rental trade return in MLB history.
With the Toronto Blue Jays currently holding the final Wild Card spot in the AL, and six games back of the division leading Orioles, there are tons of eyes on the team as fans look to see what they will do to improve their chances of making a run in October.
Ohtani would provide the biggest boost, as his unique skill set and ability to both pitch and hit makes him the most valuable player in the league as well as one who is primed to become the richest when he signs a new contract as a free agent this offseason. Ohtani is an unlikely addition for Toronto, but the team hasn’t been scared to make moves in recent years to bolster their club, especially when they have a chance to make a run.
OntarioBets decided to look at which trade deadline acquisitions of the 21st century have had the biggest impact on playoff-bound Blue Jays teams, utilizing ESPN.com and baseball-reference.com to do so.
Best Mid-Season Trade Acquisitions By Blue Jays
When The Price Was Right
The 2015 acquisition of David Price was the biggest move at the time, with the Blue Jays sending Daniel Norris, Matt Boyd and Jairo Labourt to the Detroit Tigers for the ace pitcher. The Jays were 52-51 at the time of the trade and the Price trade lit a fire under them, propelling them to a 41-18 record for the rest of the season, enough to win the AL East and shock Ontario betting apps.
Price was phenomenal in the regular season with Toronto, going 9-1 in 11 starts with the team. He then struggled in the playoffs, where the Blue Jays lost in the ALCS. Price then signed a big money contract with the Boston Red Sox in the offseason, where he never regained the form he had that year with Toronto.
With none of the players traded away by Toronto turning into stars, the trade has to be considered one of the best by the team, despite the lack of playoff success and the short time spent in Toronto by Price.
The pitching move made the next year went much more under the radar, as Toronto acquired veteran reliever Jason Grilli from Atlanta. The 39 year old pitched 42 innings for the Jays to finish the 2016 season with a 3.64 ERA and for the second straight year the team lost in the ALCS. Grilli was traded away early in the next season.
Curious Case of Robbie Ray
Pitching help was a key theme in 2020 and 2022 as well, as Taijuan Walker and Anthony Bass were both added to the Jays and both played roles on teams that ended up losing out in the Wild Card round. Walker was excellent for the Jays in 2020, but wasn’t properly used by the team and left for the Mets the following offseason.
The true gem of the deadline that year was Robbie Ray, who didn’t have much impact on the Jays in 2020, keeping him off of this list. The next season was a different story, as Ray had a career year, winning the AL Cy Young award. He then parlayed that success into a big contract with the Seattle Mariners.
With a playoff berth likely but not a lock, Toronto will be hoping to get performances like they got from Price by anyone they get at this year's trade deadline. If history is any indication, pitching is likely an area that will be targeted.
You can never have too many arms come playoff time and with Alek Manoah rounding back into form and Hyun-Jin Ryu returning from injury shortly, the Jays are about to feel like they made a big deadline move even if they are silent on the trade front. Over at PointsBet Ontario, the Jays are +800 to win the AL East, and +1800 to win the Fall Classic.