Toronto Blue Jays Poll: How Would You Address the Bullpen?


An all to familiar turn of events came about last night against the Rays. After a Russell Martin home run gave them a one run lead in the 7th, manager John Gibbons ran out Roberto Osuna, Brett Cecil and Miguel Castro in an attempt to preserve the precious lead. It did not work. The Rays ended up winning 4-2. For the past season or two, Blue Jays fans have come to expect a certain level of disappointment from the ‘pen. But, if this team is going to contend in 2015, they are going to need a strong back end of the bullpen capable of protecting leads both big and small.

The question is: What Would You Do About the Blue Jays Bullpen?

Brett Cecil is continuing to struggle. Last night, he faced David DeJesus who had just one hit against a lefty pitcher going back to the start of last season, according to TSN’s Scott MacArthur. One hit. You would think that, like the Hunger Games, the odds were in the Blue Jays favor. Well, DeJesus singled. Cecil’s struggles can be traced back to his shoulder inflammation during Spring Training. And, up to this point, there is a noticeable difference in his stuff.

According to, his velocity is down across the board. His fastball has lost 2 mph, same with his sinker. His trademark curve ball has also lost 2 mph. His change up is the only pitch that is staying relatively close to last year’s velocity. Thus far, he is using his fastball more but the usage of his sinker has dropped dramatically from 23% last season to just 8.9% this year. And, his curve ball usage has also seen a dip.  This seems to point to a different Brett Cecil in 2015. The Blue Jays need the old Brett Cecil.

Roberto Osuna is perhaps the hottest arm in the Blue Jays bullpen. Opponents are hitting just .176 against him. He’s striking out 10.45/9 and walking just 2.61/9. His K rate is 31%! Right now, he might be the best option to come in and shut down the opposition. His LOB% of 88.9% is just dead sexy. But, in 18 games thus far, he’s collected 10.1 innings. This might not seem like much, but over a whole season, it is relying on him an awful lot. Yes, he’s supposed to be a starter and can handle the work load, maybe. But, the workload of a reliever is different and may not be as simple as “he can handle the innings”. John Gibbons can’t just simply hand the ball to Osuna every night in the late innings.

Miguel Castro started the season with many of us buzzing about his potential to be a set up guy, or even take over as closer when it was clear that Cecil was off. And, so far he hasn’t been terrible. He’s picked up 4 saves, but blown 2. In his 9.2 IP, his walk rate is not good at 3.72 with a K rate of 6.52. And, even uglier is his HR/9 rate of 1.86. Perhaps we got caught up in the excitement of a young 20 year old who we didn’t expect much from coming in to Spring Training and blowing everyone away. As such, it was almost like we expected him to be unhittable, almost super human. Obviously, that is silly. But, his stuff made us silly. Now, we’re seeing him against big league hitting and his cape is a little tattered. Of the 40 batters he’s faced, he’s given up 14 fly balls.

Aaron Loup has been rather OK thus far. Granted, he’s only seen 7 innings. But in those 7 innings, he’s faced 28 batters and put up 5.14 K/9, 1.29BB/9 with 1.29 HR/9. His ERA sits at 5.14 despite opponents hitting .160 and having a WHIP of 0.71. 

Toronto Blue Jays
Toronto Blue Jays /

Toronto Blue Jays

Perhaps, this will look more and more like a bullpen that will play the percentages and match ups to create a committee. The problem lies in the figuring out of said committee. Gibby will have to figure out who is hot, who is more likely to fit which situation, etc. This will take time. This will take a bit of trial and error. And, as we’ve seen there will be errors. But, the options available right now may necessitate this approach.

It is also worth mentioning that there are other options to consider. For example, as we heard on Episode #16 of our Jays’ Nest podcast, Steve Delabar is performing very well in AAA. The voice of the Bisons, Ben Wagner told us that Delabar has been carving up the strike zone. He said Delabar has only thrown a small handful of pitches called for balls. It wasn’t really clear why he was demoted in the first place, but perhaps it is time for the Blue Jays to #RaisetheBar.

If the club wants to look even further, there is another option that could be considered. Rafael Soriano is still available. A reliever that is still looking for a job when the season begins raises some eyebrows, though. Perhaps his terrible second half of last season may have something to do with it. Now, agent Scott Boras is still trying to find a spot for his client. With Detroit losing Joe Nathan to injury, Boras is likely to be hounding the Tigers. But, with a career 207 saves including 32 in 2014 with a 8.56 K/9, 2.76 BB/9 and 0.58 HR/9, he could be of use to a bullpen that is struggling at the back end.

So, what do you say? How would you address the Blue Jays bullpen?

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