Blue Jays add RHP Swanson, LHP Macko in deal for Teoscar

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays have traded Teoscar Hernández to the Mariners in an early, major move that lays the groundwork for the rest of this organization’s offseason.

In return, the Blue Jays are acquiring right-handed reliever Erik Swanson, who broke out with a dominant 2022 season in the Mariners’ bullpen, and left-hander Adam Macko, a 21-year-old starter ranked as Seattle’s No. 8 prospect by MLB Pipeline.

This trade represents a significant pivot for the Blue Jays, who have watched Hernández grow into a star in Toronto, winning an AL Silver Slugger Award in both 2020 and ’21.

After coming into his own in the shortened ’20 season, Hernández hit 32 home runs with 116 RBIs in ’21, before his numbers regressed slightly in ’22. Still, he was a cornerstone of Toronto’s lineup.

The Blue Jays are accomplishing two things with this move, the first of which is addressing one of their most glaring needs in the bullpen.

Swanson, the 29-year-old who converted from a starter to a reliever, is the caliber of arm Toronto set out to acquire this offseason.

Swanson pitched to a 1.68 ERA last season for the Mariners, striking out 70 batters and walking just 10 over 53 2/3 innings.

He won’t blow anyone away with his fastball -- sitting in the mid-90s, it will look right at home in the Blue Jays’ bullpen -- but his splitter can give hitters fits and he rounds out his arsenal with a slider.

Swanson gives the Blue Jays the back-end piece they’ve wanted to pair alongside Jordan Romano, and after improving their bullpen depth over the past 12 months,

this is a move that finally raises the group’s ceiling. There’s also the element of team control with Swanson, as he’s under club control through the next three seasons.