The Toronto Blue Jays made their first addition before the trade deadline, Genesis Cabrera left lifter landing gear of the St. Louis Cardinals.
Toronto traded 19-year-old Sammy Hernandez to St. Louis for Cabrera, who was signed by the Cardinals on July 17.
At Cabrera, the Blue Jays are acquiring a talented pitcher in the midst of a difficult season. As a left fielder who averages 95.8 miles per hour on a fastball and strikes out 26.6 percent of the batters he faces, he has a rare skill set. Unfortunately for the Cabrera, those gifts haven’t translated into a strong production since 2021.
Over the past two seasons, the left hander has had a 4.81 ERA and 5.38 FIP, yielding an fWAR (-1.0) that ranks last among 147 relievers with over 70 RBI.
The 26-year-old fails to capitalize on his arsenal with a 4.46 BB/9, and his struggles with homers (1.64 HR/9) have made his free passes costly.
For all his struggles, it’s not hard to see his appeal to the Blue Jays.
Tim Maïza is the only left-handed reliever the team has used all season, and getting a left-handed depth is a logical move for the team. Cabrera also has one option remaining, so the club is under no obligation to keep him on the major league roster. He will likely be holed up at Triple-A and will only be called out if Mayza gets hurt.
Cabrera has taken left-handed batters to a respectable .200/.273/.383 streak this year, with a 34.3% strikeout rate. There are games where he can get an advantage, even if he has to move away from a dangerous right-handed bat.
The Blue Jays can also see a long way to the south.
While its steady pace has veered in the wrong direction in recent years, it debuted in 2023 with a healthy odor rating of 46.4%. Continuing to improve on this new hitting pad can help Cabrera right the ship.
The addition of Cardinals’ dropouts may not be the type of move Blue Jays fans will get excited about, but it’s hard to deal with a team acquiring a talented but flawed pitcher in a low-risk move.