Possible Mets trade target on the Blue Jays is someone David Stearns has added before

David Stearns traded for him before. He should do it again.
Cleveland Guardians v Toronto Blue Jays
Cleveland Guardians v Toronto Blue Jays / Vaughn Ridley/GettyImages

New York Mets fans are getting familiarized with a whole lot of middle relievers over the last few weeks. It’ll continue through the end of July as the most pressing need for this team is in the bullpen.

There are a couple of ways to narrow down the candidates. Of course, checking out who is pitching well in relief for the scrubs of Major League Baseball is the first place to look. To eliminate a few more names, looking at who is on an expiring contract helps, too.

One possible trade target sitting on the Toronto Blue Jays roster is a recognizable pitcher for David Stearns. Back in early 2021, Stearns traded for Trevor Richards in a deal with the Tampa Bay Rays more remembered for the inclusion of Willy Adames. Richards is having one of his best seasons and with the Blue Jays fading in the American League race, someone to keep an eye on.

Who is Trevor Richards and why should the Mets trade for him?

Richards is 1-0 with a 2.49 ERA in 43.1 innings for the Blue Jays this season. He has walked batters at a rate of 3.3 per 9 and struck them out at 8.5 per 9. Neither number is astonishing. However, it’s his impressive 0.83 WHIP which should have the Mets and others calling the Blue Jays about a potential swap.

Richards is a unique player who went undrafted and signed as a free agent with the Miami Marlins back in 2016. He debuted as a starter and since joining the Blue Jays in 2021 when Stearns traded him away in the Rowdy Tellez deal, has made another 9 starts including 2 in 2024. Those starts were as an opener. Richards can go multiple innings but has been limited to mostly 2 frames at the most this season.

The Mets would be buying a guy whose track record hasn’t been nearly as good as it is this season. The 31-year-old has been good in the past but a 5.34 ERA in 2022 and 4.95 ERA in 2023 is too fresh in the memory for them to give up a whole lot to acquire. Cutting down on the home run ball seems to be one of the biggest improvements. He’s at a rate of 2.4% versus a career total of 3.4%.

Where Richards becomes most tempting is the contract. Earning only $2.15 million this year, he barely puts a dent in an overflowing Mets payroll. We shouldn’t expect the Mets to hold back on adding the right players if it means paying more into the luxury tax. The benefit of Richards is he shouldn’t get in the way of any additional moves.

The Blue Jays are one of this year’s biggest surprise sellers. Executing any major deals, such as one involving Vladimir Guerrero Jr., might be too big of a leap for a team hoping to compete next year. Richards, on his expiring contract, is different. The Mets would need to cross their fingers that what he has done through his first 36 games for Toronto this year is what he can offer them. At a light price and without a big salary, he’s a guy you can cut the cord with quickly if things go awry.