John Coppolella and the rest of the Atlanta Braves front office are continuing to sell assets to willing bidders. This time, the Toronto Blue Jays have reportedly acquired veteran reliever Jason Grilli.
In the final season of a deal that includes a $3 million team option for 2017, the 39-year old reliever has been struggling. In his 17 innings of work so far this season, Grilli is posting the worst groundball rate of his career, while allowing 11 runs -- 10 earned -- on 16 hits and 13 walks. To compound matters further, while Grilli's strikeout rate is hovering right around his career average, his whiff rate -- the rate at which opposing hitters swing and miss at pitches -- is five percentage points lower than last season.
CONFIRMED - #Bluejays have acquired reliever Jason Grilli from #Braves. #Jays— Mike Wilner (@Wilnerness590) May 31, 2016
#BlueJays acquiring Jason Grilli from #Braves in exchange for Sean Ratcliffe, sources say. Story coming soon on @BB_Essential.— Robert Murray (@RobertMurrayBBE) May 31, 2016
One of the Blue Jays' biggest moves this offseason was acquiring Drew Storen. Instead of bolstering the bullpen however, Storen has been one of the worst relief options for the team. While he may be suffering from a high BABIP, there were some worries about his velocity early in the season. He's allowed 13 runs -- all earned -- over his 17.1 innings of work.
All together, the Blue Jays' bullpen ranks 12th in FIP among American League teams, only ahead of the Tampa Bay Rays, Minnesota Twins, and Texas Rangers. With Brett Cecil on the disabled list, the Blue Jays were in need of a reliever. Though this doesn't address the need for a reliable left-handed option.
Ratcliffe is a 21-year old left-handed pitching prospect most recently with Low-A Vancouver. In 40 innings last season, Ratcliffe struck out 30 and walked 16 as a reliever. He still appears to be quite a ways from the major leagues and doesn't rank on the Blue Jays' organizational Top 30 list of prospects on MLB.com