Blue Jays acquire reliever Genesis Cabrera from Cardinals, DFA Trent Thornton

The Toronto Blue Jays have added a hard-throwing left-hander who's struggled this season to their pitching staff.

The Toronto Blue Jays have made their first addition ahead of the trade deadline, landing left-handed reliever Génesis Cabrera from the St. Louis Cardinals.

Toronto traded 19-year-old catching prospect Sammy Hernandez to St. Louis in exchange for Cabrera, who was designated for assignment by the Cardinals on July 17. The Blue Jays designated right-handed pitcher Trent Thornton for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster.

In Cabrera the Blue Jays are acquiring a talented pitcher in the midst of a difficult season. As a left-hander who averages 95.8 mph on his fastball and strikes out 26.6% of the hitters he faces, he has a rare skill set. Unfortunately for Cabrera, those gifts haven't translated into strong production since 2021.

Over the last two seasons the southpaw has a 4.81 ERA and a 5.38 FIP resulting in an fWAR (-1.0) that ranks dead last among the 147 relievers with over 70 innings pitched.

The 26-year-old has been unable to harness his arsenal with a BB/9 of 4.46 and his struggles with home runs (1.64 HR/9) have made the free passes he's given out particularly costly.

For all of his difficulties, it's not difficult to see his appeal to the Blue Jays.

Tim Mayza is the only left-handed reliever the team has used all season, and getting some southpaw depth is a logical move for the squad. Cabrera also has an option remaining, so the club has no obligation to keep him on the major-league roster. It's possible he gets stashed at Triple-A and only recalled if Mayza suffers an injury.

Cabrera has held left-handed batters to a respectable .200/.273/.383 line this year, with a massive 34.3% strikeout rate. There are matchups where he could have utility, even if he needed to be kept away from dangerous right-handed bats.

The Blue Jays may see longer term upside in the southpaw, too.

Genésis Cabrera is a talented reliever who's struggled to find consistency in recent years. (Simon Marper/PA Images via Getty Images)
Génesis Cabrera is a talented reliever who's struggled to find consistency in recent years. (Simon Marper/PA Images via Getty Images)

While his fastball velocity has trended in the wrong direction in recent years, he debuted a slider in 2023 that has a healthy whiff rate of 46.4%. Continuing to refine this newfound strikeout pitch could help Cabrera right the ship.

Adding the Cardinals castoff may not be the type of move that will get Blue Jays fans excited, but it's tough to take issue with the team acquiring a talented but flawed pitcher in a low-risk move.