Blue Jays boost bullpen, deal for Lowe
Left-handers Wells, Brentz and Rasmussen headed to Mariners
TORONTO -- The Blue Jays' made another move to solidify their bullpen on Friday afternoon by acquiring right-hander Mark Lowe from the Mariners in exchange for three Minor League pitchers.
Left-hander Nick Wells is the primary piece going to Seattle, while lefties Jacob Brentz and Rob Rasmussen also were included in the deal that was officially announced approximately two hours before Friday's 4 p.m. ET non-waiver Trade Deadline.
Lowe is in the midst of a career season that has seen him post a sparkling 1.00 ERA in 36 innings. He struck out 47 and walked 11, while limiting opponents to a .235 batting average for Seattle.
"Lowe is someone [who] can pitch in the late innings. Tremendous stuff, he's having a wonderful year," Anthopoulos said. "I got to see him in Seattle, but we had been following him prior to that and he's having an outstanding year for Seattle. Excited to add him to the bullpen."
The 32-year-old Lowe will settle into a setup role with the Blue Jays alongside fellow right-hander LaTroy Hawkins and lefty Brett Cecil. Rookies Aaron Sanchez and Roberto Osuna are expected to hang on to their eighth- and ninth-inning roles.
Toronto's bullpen was a major concern all season with 16 blown saves, but the current group looks a lot better on paper than it did a week ago. The first addition came when Sanchez was activated from the 15-day DL and transitioned away from the starting rotation.
Hawkins was an underrated component of the recent deal for All-Star shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, and Lowe gives manager John Gibbons yet another quality option to turn to. The Blue Jays also have right-hander Bo Schultz to use in the middle innings, while Liam Hendriks will continue to pitch in long relief.
That likely means right-hander Ryan Tepera and left-hander Aaron Loup will be optioned to Triple-A Buffalo in the near future. One spot will need to be created for Lowe on Saturday, while another needs to be opened up so the club can add a backup infielder after Devon Travis was placed on the 15-day DL with a strained left shoulder.
"I think our bullpen is really starting to be deep with power arms," Anthopoulos said. "It's a great problem to have. ... Even last night, we went with LaTroy Hawkins, Sanchez and Osuna. If you're in those tight games, those guys aren't necessarily going to be available every day, so the deeper that you can be, the more options that you have, the more protected you're going to be.
"When you get to the playoffs, a lot of those teams, those starters are going five innings and you need those bullpens; they're pretty important. There were a lot of relievers out there in trade. This was an upside guy that's performed, that's maybe not as famous, but he's performing as well as some of the other relievers in the game, and the acquisition costs worked for us."
Wells was taken in the third round of the 2014 Draft and was Toronto's No. 23 prospect, according to MLBPipeline.com. He had a 4.78 ERA in 32 innings for Bluefield of the Appalachian League.
Brentz was a teammate of Wells at Bluefield. The 20-year-old was taken in the 11th round of the 2013 Draft and wasn't ranked on the MLBPipeline.com list of top prospects. Rasmussen had a couple of stints with the Blue Jays, but he spent most of the past two years in Triple-A Buffalo, where he had a 2.36 ERA.