Blue Jays: 5 RH relief pitchers to consider in free agency

3 of 6

Jul 26, 2015; Denver, CO, USA; Cincinnati Reds relief pitcher Burke Badenhop (25) delivers a pitch during the seventh inning against the Colorado Rockies at Coors Field. The Rockies won 17-7. Mandatory Credit: Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports

Burke Badenhop   (32)
2015:  66.1 IP, 3.93 ERA

Badenhop recently had his $4 million team option declined by the Cincinnati Reds, who instead opted to pay his $1.5 buyout. While he certainly didn’t earn a raise in 2015, it was another steady season from the underrated ground ball specialist. That’s a trait that would play very well in the American League East, especially on the Rogers Centre turf.

If you’ve been kicking around here since last offseason, or if you’re a regular listener to the Jays Nest Podcast, you know I’m a not-so-closeted Badenhop super fan. While he’s by no means the back-end option that Soria represents, plugging Badenhop into the middle of a bullpen will bring you 60+ innings of quality relief, most often at a level high enough to keep the game above water.

Badenhop kicked his career off with the Detroit Tigers organization before being dealt to the Florida Marlins as part of the Miguel Cabrera blockbuster. As the centrepiece, I’m sure. He’s now coming off four consecutive quality seasons with the Rays, Brewers, Red Sox and Reds.

If one of Osuna or Sanchez stays in a back-end role, a signing like Badenhop would allow for Liam Hendriks to experiment with a more prominent role while Brett Cecil stays put in his high-leverage spot. With an innings-eater like Mark Buehrle out the door and a rotation that could be going young, an arm like Badenhop’s would be a wise addition in my books.

The righty pounds away with a sinker as his primary pitch, mixing in a splitter and slider. He was able to produce ground balls at a 61.0% rate for the Red Sox in 2014, but that number did fall to 46.7% with the Reds this past season. Despite an improved slider, he lost the feel for his sinker at times. If that can bounce back, so can Badenhop.

Next: Give Brett Cecil some spectacled brethren!