Deadline Day Moves: Blue Jays Trade Relievers Aaron Loup and John Axford

With the biggest moves already completed in the J.A. Happ, Seunghwan Oh, and Roberto Osuna trades, the Blue Jays were still active today ahead of the 4pm non-waiver trade deadline.

The first move of the day came when the Jays sent left-handed reliever Aaron Loup to the Phillies for minor leaguer Jacob Waguespack. Loup was the longest tenured member of the Blue Jays, having spent his entire professional career with the Toronto organization.

Loup leaves in the midst of another solid-but-not-spectacular season of relief work where he posted a 4.54 ERA (3.61 FIP) and a career best 10.60 K/9. Despite often acting as a lightning rod for fan frustration, Loup has been a dependable reliever since his 2012 debut, pitching to a career ERA is 3.47 (3.49 FIP) and a 8.39 K/9 – his best work coming against left-handed batters.

In exchange for the veteran lefty reliever, the Blue Jays get Jacob Waguespack, a pitcher who’s last name is likely one of the most cut and pasted here on the internet this deadline day. Waguespack is a 24-year-old who made his triple-A debut this season, posting a 5.06 ERA (but a much more respectable 3.66 FIP) in 53.1 innings. Throughout his minor league career, Waguespack has kept the ball on the ground and generated enough strikeouts to matter (8.1 K/9 this season). According prospect writer, Eric Longenhagen, Waguespack has the potential to be a solid reliever:

The second trade of the afternoon occurred when the Jays then dealt Ontario native John Axford to the Los Angeles Dodgers for pitcher Corey Copping.

Axford has posted a 4.41 ERA and a career-low 8.82 K/9 in 51 innings this season. Axford, endured himself to fans through his unique set of tastes and interests – he would often tweet about hardcore bands and watching foreign films on team flights. He will likely be remembered for his first ever career start last weekend in Chicago where he pitched three scoreless innings. Copping is a high strikeout reliever with control issues in his sixth season of pro ball. Like Waguespack, he is 24-years-old and was recently promoted to triple-A for the first time.

In getting Copping and Waguespack, they’ve added to their upper minors pitching depth, which was Ross Atkins’ stated goal following the position player returns for Oh and Happ. That depth could be sorely needed following the exodus of four pitchers from the big league roster. And while neither of these trades involves the caliber of prospects/players that were exchanged in the Osuna and Happ trades, the Jays likely felt compelled to get what they could for players on expiring deals and fungible relievers that would be an unneeded luxury for the team out of contention for 2018.

However, this makes it surprising that they team didn’t move Curtis Granderson or Tyler Clippard ahead of the deadline this afternoon. But with more teams selling than buying at the deadline, there’s several reasons the Jays may have been unable or unwilling to move Clippard and Granderson. Both players (along with Estrada and possibly Josh Donaldson) could also potentially be moved in August, where trades are still possible, but the players must first clear trade waivers (or be dealt to the team who claims them).

It might not have been the most exciting deadline on-record for Blue Jays fans, but it was definitely a productive one.

*Photo Credit:  Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Related Articles

Leave a comment

Use your Baseball Prospectus username