The Blue Jays right-handed reliever rode an elite splitter to an All-Star appearance in 2013, striking out 12.6 batters per nine innings that season
Steve Delabar has been one of the better stories on the Toronto Blue Jays these past few seasons, going from a substitute teacher to a Major League All-Star after arm troubles nearly cost him his career.
Early Tuesday, the Toronto Blue Jays released the 32-year-old reliever after four seasons with the organization.
Delabar was one of several Blue Jays arms without Minor League options remaining, and the offseason influx of rotation and bullpen depth slowly pushed him further away from a spot on the Major League roster.
After coming over from the Seattle Mariners in 2012 in exchange for Eric Thames, Delabar enjoyed a strong debut season with Toronto before truly breaking out in 2013. That All-Star season, Delabar made 55 appearances with a 3.22 ERA and one of the league’s more devastating strikeout pitches.
The last two seasons have seen the veteran split his time nearly evenly between the MLB roster and triple-A Buffalo. Last season with the Blue Jays, Delabar got tagged with a 5.83 ERA over 29.1 innings pitched with a 1.432 WHIP.
In Buffalo, some improved control and home run avoidance led him to a much stronger 1.42 ERA over 25.1 innings.
For Delabar, he now enters a free agent market that is about to become very crowded, very quickly. Add in the waiver wire churn that we’re about to see over the coming days, and there will be a lot of transactional balls in the air. This applies to Toronto, too.
He does remain an attractive option, however, for his sheer arm talent alone. It only takes one team, so don’t be surprised if there is a thin bullpen willing to take a chance on Delabar recapturing his form.