Blue Jays trade Anthony Bass and Zach Pop

TORONTO — The Blue Jays remodeled their bullpen ahead of Tuesday’s trade deadline, acquiring relievers Zach Pop and Anthony Bass from the Marlins and then swingman Mitch White in a subsequent deal with the Dodgers.

The biggest piece moved by the Blue Jays on Tuesday is Jordan Groshans, their system’s No. 4 prospect, to the Marlins. In the Dodgers deal, Toronto sent right-hander Nick Frasso and left-hander Moises Brito. The Blue Jays also received infield prospect Alex De Jesus from the Dodgers as part of the deal.

The Blue Jays get: RHP Anthony Bass, Zach Pop
Marlins get: SS/3B Jordan Groshans (#4 Blue Jays prospect/#82 overall)

In Pop, from Brampton, Ont., the Blue Jays add another Canadian alongside closer Jordan Romano, and the 25-year-old right-hander takes control of the team through the end of the 2026 season. Toronto’s acquisition of Adam Cimber last summer from that same Marlins club, when he was aiming for a long-term bullpen piece.

Pop is also an interesting fit in this bullpen, not necessarily representing the swing-and-miss reliever many expected the Blue Jays to target. Pop has a 7.8 K/9 strikeout rate over 74 2/3 MLB innings, including a 3.60 ERA this season, but he is producing ground contact at an incredible rate (63.8% in 2022), leaning heavily on a sinker that averages 96.5 mph.

“It’s pretty special to be able to go home and see my family and play for the Blue Jays,” Pop said. “I have a lot of friends and a lot of people supporting them right now. To be a part of what they’re doing there right now is pretty amazing. They’ve got a great team there, and I’ve lucky to be in. They do special things.

Bass, of course, will be a household name for Blue Jays fans. The right-hander spent 2020 with Toronto, stepping in to close out games at one point when Ken Giles went down, and he’s enjoying a career year with the Marlins, posting a 1.41 ERA in 44 2/3 innings with 45 outs at bat.

The 34-year-old offers a $3 million club option for 2023 which includes a $1 million buyout. Bass and Pop will add to the crowded group of Blue Jays setup weapons used in front of Romano, a group that includes Cimber, Yimi Garcia, David Phelps and Tim Mayza. This allows Toronto to extend some of that depth in the early innings, closing the gap to the starters.

Bass said he and Pop had already received a text from Cimber, and he also knows Garcia well from their time together in 2021. Toronto’s bullpen turned into Miami North.

“I’m going to a team with a chance to make the playoffs, which as players is what we always want to do,” Bass said. “Our end goal is to win a World Series, so this part is exciting, going to Toronto for this opportunity. Obviously, it’s a familiar place. I was with them in 2020, so it will be a nice transition for me.

Talented relievers with team control don’t come cheap, however, which is why the Blue Jays had to deal with Groshans, their No. 4 and No. 82 prospect in MLB, according to MLB Pipeline.

Groshans was the Blue Jays’ first-round pick in the 2018 draft, No. 12 overall, and he’s off to a strong start in the lower minors. After an injury-shortened 21 season with Double-A New Hampshire, where he hit .291 with an .817 OPS, Groshans looked to his power this season at Triple-A Buffalo.

There, the 22-year-old hit .250, and while his .348 on-base percentage shows improved plate approach, Groshans hit just one home run in 67 games. The power is certainly there for the gifted youngster who was turning heads in spring training with his exit speeds, but Groshans had clearly been overtaken by Orelvis Martinez as the organization’s top prospect. He will now have a bigger opportunity in the Marlins organization.

Including right-hander Gunnar Hoglund (2021) and infielder Austin Martin (’20), the Blue Jays have now traded three of their four first-round picks from the 18-21 draft.

White brings nuance to Stripling deal

There’s something familiar about this business for the Blue Jays. Two seasons ago, they acquired Ross Stripling from the Dodgers, bringing him back with remaining team control and the ability to switch between bullpen and rotation, which Toronto actively covets.

Now it’s White’s turn.

The Blue Jays get:
RHP Mitch White, INF Ivan De Jesus
Marlins get: RHP Nick Frasso, LHP Moises Brito

The 27-year-old white is under the control of the team until the end of the 2027 season, so this is a short and long-term move for the Blue Jays, much like Stripling was. at the time. Since 2020, Stripling has bounced between roles admirably and, entering Hyun Jin Ryu’s rotation this summer, has quietly been one of the most valuable members of this list.

White has a 3.70 ERA this season in 10 starts and five relief appearances, averaging 7.6 strikeouts per nine innings. He’s been in a starting job in Los Angeles since late May and will now be part of Toronto’s rotational depth and loose relief picture alongside Yusei Kikuchi, who looked stronger during his recent back in rotation.

Frasso, the 23-year-old tall, is the intriguing piece that goes the other way. Frasso returned this season from surgery at UCL that used an internal brace – not quite a full Tommy John elbow reconstruction procedure – and posted a 0.74 ERA with 57 strikeouts in 36 2/3 innings between Single-A and High-A, hitting 100 mph with his fastball.

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