José Berrios Traded to Blue Jays: How World Series Odds Moved Following Deadline Deal

José Berrios Traded to Blue Jays: How World Series Odds Moved Following Deadline Deal article feature image
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Photo by Stephen Maturen/Getty Images. Pictured: Jose Berrios

In a market starved for starting pitching options, the Toronto Blue Jays landed a big one in José Berrios.

The Blue Jays acquired the right-handed starter from the Minnesota Twins in exchange for a prospect haul headlined by Austin Martin and Simeon Woods Richardson.

For pitchers with more than one year of contractual control, Berrios was perhaps the best option made available. With the Twins’ disappointing season continuing throughout July, the franchise hit a bit of a reset by dealing their Opening Day starter.

The Max Scherzer trade, which appeared to be agreed to on Thursday, opened the door for teams to focus on Berrios.

The Blue Jays immediately place Berrios near the top of their rotation, as he’ll help not only a playoff push this year but will contribute next year as well.

In 20 starts this season, Berrios has a 3.48 ERA with 126 strikeouts in 121 2/3 innings.

Entering Friday, the Blue Jays were +3000 to win the World Series at DraftKings and +1400 to win the AL pennant. There was a big discrepancy in AL East odds between FanDuel and DraftKings, with the former posting the Blue Jays at +1300 to win the division and the latter coming in at +2200.

Toronto entered the day 9.5 games back of the Boston Red Sox and in fourth place in the division despite a +97 run differential, which ranks fourth in the AL. The Blue Jays are 4.5 games behind the A’s for the second wild card spot.

Berrios made his debut at 22 with the Twins in 2016, making 14 starts with an 8.02 ERA. But the former top prospect rebounded nicely in 2017 with a 3.89 ERA in 26 appearances (25 starts). He was an All-Star in 2018 and 2019.

The return for Minnesota is headlined by Martin, who was Toronto’s top draft pick in the 2020 draft. Martin was the No. 20 prospect on Baseball Prospectus’ Midseason Top 50 and No. 16 on MLB Pipeline’s Top 100. Woods Richardson was the Blue Jays’ No. 6 prospect by BP and No. 4 by Pipeline.

BJ Cunningham’s Analysis

Berrios will be big for a Blue Jays rotation that has been pretty average to this point in the season. Their top four guys of Robbie Ray, Hyun-Jin Ryu, Alek Manoah, and Steven Matz all have an xERA under 4.30 and and xFIP under four. The biggest problem was the fifth spot in their rotation because Ross Stripling has been awful with an xFIP almost at six.

Outside of 2018, Berrios is having the best season of his career:

  • xERA: 4.10
  • xFIP: 3.58
  • K/9: 9.32
  • BB/9: 2.37
  • Hard Hit%: 33%

Berrios has a four-pitch mix of curveball, sinker, fastball, and changeup and all of his pitches besides his fastball have been pretty effective, allowing a wOBA under .270. However, his fastball has been getting shelled to the tune of a .386 wOBA.

He’s also going to be facing much better competition in the AL East because the Red Sox and Rays are top six in wOBA against right handed pitching. Also, five of the current six playoff teams in the AL are in the top 10 in wOBA against right-handed pitching.

Berrios is an upgrade for the Blue Jays’ rotation over Stripling and will give them a legit five-man rotation as they make a push for the division or second wild card spot.

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