Blue Jays make big splash with trade of Jose Berrios in hope to secure playoff spot

Minnesota Twins, Toronto Blue Jays

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Jose Berrios was the best starting pitcher available, and the Toronto Blue Jays moved quickly to the front of the line to get him.

With Max Scherzer on his way to the Los Angeles Dodgers barring a last-minute snag, Jose Berrios became the top starting pitcher available as the hours wind down to the trade deadline Friday afternoon. The San Diego Padres appeared like the most obvious suitor for Berrios after missing out on Scherzer, but Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic reported Friday morning the Toronto Blue Jays won the race for the Minnesota Twins’ young ace.

The Blue Jays announced the deal with a few hours to spare before the deadline and there’s speculation they may not be done adding.

Minnesota is getting shortstop/outfielder Austin Martin and right-handed pitcher Simeon Woods-Richardson from Toronto for Berrios.

With a year of team control left after this one, Berrios was a top trade option for contending teams all along. He has also sounded ready to go into free agency after the 2022 season, and extension talks with the Twins didn’t seem to get anywhere.

The Twins cashed in nicely on a Jose Berrios trade

The Padres’ top-notch farm system is bearing real major league fruit now. But the Blue Jays have a top-end farm system too, the Twins got a couple of nice prospects for Berrios.

Martin and Woods-Richardson are top-100 overall prospects, as ranked by MLB.com (No. 16 and No. 68 respectively, via updated rankings). Martin was the fifth overall pick in the 2020 draft out of Vanderbilt, and his position versatility (shortstop, second base, third base, center field) may fast-track him to the big leagues. Woods-Richardson was drafted in 2018, but he won’t turn 21 until September and will be a much-needed young arm in Minnesota’s pipeline.

The Twins had the leverage in trade talks surrounding Berrios, and when Scherzer was no longer available it was a matter of time before a deal got done. Credit to Derek Falvey and Thad Levine for likely holding out until they got two top prospects from someone, and pulling the trigger as their predecessors would not have on a deal like this.

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