June 10, 2023
Breakdown of Blue Jays off-season pitching goals - TSN.ca

Breakdown of Blue Jays off-season pitching goals – TSN.ca

TORONTO — After a few years of shopping near the top of the rotation market in both the free agency and trade markets, the Toronto Blue Jays could be in line for a change of approach this winter.

With Alek Manoah, Kevin Gausman and the expensive Jose Berrios in need of a bounce back campaign in 2023 all in house, the bullpen could be where GM Ross Atkins is spending his dollars this winter.

During Atkins’ seven-year tenure since his hire in the winter of 2015, the pen has traditionally not been an area where significant resources have been spent.

But it’s also an area of ​​the roster that a true World Series contender usually has to deal with last, and has to deal with on an ongoing basis throughout the season because with bullpen building you just never really know.

During the epic collapse of the Toronto wildcard series, it was clear that the bullpen needed more punching weapons, an idea Atkins has talked about on numerous occasions over the past year but hasn’t really implemented.

Whether that relief help arrives via trade or free hand remains to be seen, but adding impact to the bullpen and multiple depth options to the back end of the rotation seems like the right strategy given the pitching requirements and current realities.

With that in mind, here are my 22 favorite pitching targets for Atkins and the Jays:

SP Justin Verlander, Astros, age 40

Embedded Image

Verlander is one of the high-end starting pitchers out there that the Jays could target for a number of reasons. The first is that they already did it last year and Verlander was open to the idea. Secondly, the tenure will be palatable and the 40-year-old might even be open to something creative at this stage in his career. Will he leave the defending champion Astros, the question is? The scenario seems ideal for the future Hall of Famer at this point. Not only would he give the Jays arguably the best trio of starters in baseball, but he’d also be a great mentor not only to Manoah, but to some of the young pitchers — cough, Ricky Tiedemann — the club is hoping to see in Seasons will appear over the next few years.

SP Kodai Senga, Japan, 30 years

Embedded Image

Where those markets will go is always as much of a mystery as the transition of Japanese pitchers with splitter-out pitches to MLB. There’s a chance Senga’s market is reasonable, and the Jays have been calling on pretty much every Japanese starter available during Atkins’ tenure. Senga will turn 30 in January and is a right-handed player in his prime. Last season, he had a 1.94 ERA over 144 frames with the Fukuoka Softbank Hawks. The best thing about a Senga chase is that he’s not subject to the posting process, so he’s free to negotiate as a regular free agent. His splinter, which he calls Ghost Fork, is a quality offer and Senga can run his fastball into the upper 90s. However, the problem could be high walk totals. Blue Jays fans won’t want to hear that, but there’s some right-hander vibes from Yusei Kikuchi here, and there’s a chance the contract will end in the same vein as the $56 million guaranteed that the Seattle Mariners gave to this one Japanese left-handers have given four years ago.

PR Rafael Montero, Astros, age 33

Embedded Image

Montero and the next game on that list, Robert Suarez, ended up at #23 and #24, respectively, on the annual free agent top 50 list compiled by myself and TSN insider Steve Phillips. In those articles, I raved about the two high-octane righties, and they’re by far my two favorite impact and upside bullpen targets for the Jays. I would try to get both signed and quick. Just like before the winter meetings in San Diego in December.

PR Robert Suarez, parents, age 32

Embedded Image

Suarez’s agent cleverly wrote a $5 million player option into the contract he signed with the San Diego Padres last winter after resuming his career in Japan. After posting a 2.27 ERA on his return, Suarez was quick to dismiss and will go on the market as one of the more intriguing late-inning options. Armed with five pitches, hitters couldn’t touch Suarez’s fastballs or his changeup (.089 batting average vs.), and if you remove his first two appearances in early April when he struggled with command issues on his way to four earned runs, his ERA allowed him to drop to 1.58 with 59 punchouts in 45.2 innings.

RP Matt Moore, Rangers, age 34

Embedded Image

In his first full season as a reliever, Moore was dominant, and he probably should have attempted that transition years ago. Across 74 frames, the left-hander and former frontrunner as a long-ago starter with the Tampa Bay Rays posted a sparkling 1.95 ERA and hit 27.3 percent of the hitters he faced. The walks are a bit of an issue, but Moore’s ability to keep right-handers at bay with a .165 batting average makes him an attractive late-inning option that could get even better if he can use his control while continuing to gain ground a suits bullpen roller.

RP Taylor Rogers, Brewers, age 32

Embedded Image

Rogers endured the worst season of his career with a 4.76 ERA, but the cumulative work of the left-hander’s career will leave him with many suitors. The Jays care more about assists that both sides can pull out rather than focusing on which arm they’re throwing with, but adding another left-hander to match Tim Mayza would be a smart move.

RP Andrew Chafin, Tigers, age 33

Embedded Image

With a combined ERA of 2.29 over his last two seasons, Chafin was quick to turn down his player option this month and will have plenty of teams interested in his services. Chafin, previously considered a left-hander specialist, kept both righties and lefties at under-.200 batting averages last season.

SP Andrew Heaney, Dodgers, age 32
SP Nathan Eovaldi, Red Sox, age 33
SP Mike Clevinger, Padres, age 32
SP Noah Syndergaard, Phillies, age 30

I’ll summarize these next three groups into types that would add important depth to Pete Walker’s pitching staff and help the Jays handle the upsets that always occur in a 162-game season.

The Jays had an interest in Heaney last year before he signed with the Dodgers, where he posted a solid 3.10 ERA and provided glimpses of a quality starter with three 10-plus K outputs in just 14 starts. None of these guys can be counted on for 30 starts, and all four could be better back-end starters with short stints that rarely get past the fifth or sixth inning. That might not sound overly sexy, but there’s an upside for more in all of them when things work out and runtime and money won’t be an issue for any of these guys. Given this front office regime’s familiarity with Clevinger from their Cleveland days together, the 32-year-old right-hander is an intriguing candidate for a year-long show-me deal and a fifth starter role, coming from a 4.33 ERA.

SP/RP Shintaro Fujinami, Japan, 29 years old
SP/RP Zach Eflin, Phillies, age 29
SP/RP Nick Martinez, Padres, 32 years ($6.5m player option)
SP/RP Michael Lorenzen, Angels, age 31
SP/RP Matt Strahm, Red Sox, age 31
SP/RP Matthew Boyd, seafarer, age 32

Here are five arms that could potentially start the season in the role Ross Stripling filled in 2022 as a swingman with the ability to fill a rotational hole when injury inevitably hits. Fujinami is sent out by the Hanshin Tigers and has had highlights in the past, but he’s been nothing more than a deep arm in Japan and is similar to Shun Yamaguchi’s signing a few years ago. The difference with Fujinami is that he has shown a three-digit fastball in the past. Eflin, Lorenzen and Martinez have all flipped between rotation and pen at different points in their careers and would add the fifth starter competition. Strahm, a former starter, has expressed a desire to return to the rotation and is looking for a team that will let him do so. With a solid track record as a left assist, he has solid fallback ground. Boyd was returning from a flexor tendon injury late last year and was looking good as a helper for the first time in his career, but even as a fifth starter there are plenty of upsides.

RP Adam Piccolo, Mets, age 37
RP Seth Lugo, Mets, age 33
RP Trevor May, Mets, age 33
RP Tommy Kahnle, Dodgers, age 33
RP Pierce Johnson, Padres, age 32

These guys won’t make headlines, but they would all be solid additions to the bullpen, especially when some of the key targets before them on the list fall off the board. All five have a history of holding highly leveraged positions and could offer underhanded value. Ottavino’s 2.06 ERA in 66 appearances will make him the most attractive of this group, but Johnson and his elite out-pitch curveball are the guy I’d aim for to add another element of much-needed swing-and-miss .

#Breakdown #Blue #Jays #offseason #pitching #goals #TSNca

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *