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.