Blue Jays trade Aaron Loup, John Axford ahead of trade deadline

Ross Atkins talks with Arash Madani about the Toronto Blue Jays making moves at the MLB Trade Deadline and working towards getting back into playoff contention.

TORONTO — The Toronto Blue Jays traded two relief pitchers for prospects before Tuesday’s non-waiver trade deadline, sending long-serving left-hander Aaron Loup to the Philadelphia Phillies and Canadian right-hander John Axford to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The 30-year-old Loup, the longest-tenured Blue Jay before the trade, was dealt for minor-league right-handed pitcher Jacob Waguespack. Axford, 35, was traded for right-hander Corey Copping.

Tuesday’s deals ended a busy period for Toronto that also saw the Jays deal controversial closer Roberto Osuna to Houston and dependable left-handed starter J.A. Happ to the New York Yankees.

The cumulative return for the Blue Jays is a mixed bag. Some new acquisitions such as infielder Brandon Drury and closer Ken Giles are major-league ready, while others will bolster the Jays’ system for now.

"Adding these pieces is extremely exciting," Jays general manager Ross Atkins said Tuesday on a conference call. "We’re going to have a lot of opportunity over the off-season to optimize our young talent with the right complimentary pieces."

The 24-year-old Waguespack, a six-foot-six, 225-pound pitcher from Waco, Texas, is a combined 4-6 with a 4.68 ERA in 21 games for the double-A Reading Fightin Phils the triple-A Lehigh Valley IronPigs.

Waguespack only had to change dugouts at Coca-Cola Field to join his new team. The IronPigs are currently in Buffalo for a series with the Bisons, the Blue Jays’ triple-A affiliate.

Copping, 24, is 4-0 with a 2.52 ERA in 35 games for the double-A Tulsa Drillers and triple-A Oklahoma City Dodgers. The 6-1, 175-pound righty from Pasadena, Calif., owns a career record of 11-4 and a 3.37 ERA in four minor league seasons.

"Waguespack is a very exciting pitcher that has strikeouts, power and size … and similar on Copping," Atkins said. "They’re guys who are great additions to the system."

Loup is 0-0 with a 4.54 earned-run average in 50 games this season. The native of Raceland, La., owns a career record of 12-20 with a 3.47 ERA and 297 strikeouts in 369 games over seven seasons with Toronto from 2012 to 2018.

Axford is 4-1 with a 4.41 ERA in 45 games with one start for the Blue Jays this season. The six-foot-five, 220-pound native of Simcoe, Ont., has a career record of 38-34 with a 3.78 ERA and 144 saves in 538 games for seven different teams. He had a career-high 46 saves for Milwaukee in 2011.

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