The Toronto Blue Jays addressed one of their biggest needs on Tuesday by acquiring right-handed pitchers Trevor Richards and Bowden Francis from the Milwaukee Brewers in exchange for first baseman Rowdy Tellez.
Richards is now with his fourth major-league team since making his debut in 2018 with the Miami Marlins. He was a starter for two seasons, but transitioned to the bullpen as he moved through the Tampa Bay Rays and Brewers organizations.
Working exclusively as a reliever, he had a 3.20 ERA, 1.220 WHIP, and an 11.9 K/9 through 19.2 innings with the Brewers after being acquired from the Rays earlier this season.
The 28-year-old addresses a significant need for the Blue Jays, as they have lost control of countless games due to bullpen errors and an overall lack of reliable relief arms. Similar to the acquisition of Ross Stripling last season, Toronto is acquiring a pitcher that has control and someone who can possibly start for them in a pinch. Richards is arbitration-eligible through the 2024 campaign.
The Blue Jays are also acquiring Bowden Francis, a 25-year-old righty starter that has bounced between Triple-A and Double-A in the Milwaukee organization this season. In 11 total starts, he has a 3.62 ERA and a 1.022 WHIP through 59.2 innings.
Tellez, 26, has been with Triple-A Buffalo since June 22, when the Blue Jays activated outfielder George Springer for his first significant stretch of games since signing with Toronto as a free agent. With Vladimir Guerrero Jr.'s incredible MVP-level season at first base and the Blue Jays often utilizing the designated hitter spot for any outfielder needing an off day, Tellez’s role had been diminished to organizational depth.
In 139 at-bats for the Blue Jays this season, Tellez hit for a slash line of .209/.272/.338 and just four homers. He showed promise in the pandemic-shortened 2020 campaign, posting an .886 OPS with eight home runs in 35 games.
The Blue Jays have a 43-39 record and currently sit nine games behind the AL East-leading Boston Red Sox.
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