Blue Jays GM Ross Atkins held his postseason media availability on Monday afternoon
Beyond the big-picture decisions facing the Toronto Blue Jays in the coming months, some smaller-scale conversations remain that will significantly impact the 2017 roster.
Two variables, Roberto Osuna and Joe Biagini, were addressed by general manager Ross Atkins in his postseason media availability on Monday.
Speaking today on The Jeff Blair Show, Atkins seemed to suggest that the Blue Jays were still not 100% certain about auditioning Joe Biagini as a starter in the spring, but the front office is certainly open to the idea.
Atkins noted that one of the main appeals of Biagini in last offseason’s Rule 5 Draft was the club’s belief that his pitches would “play up” in a bullpen rule. He told Blair and Stephen Brunt this morning that they would need to be sure Biagini’s arsenal does not “play down” with a move back to the starting rotation.
Biagini was a career starter prior to the Rule 5 move. In 2015 with the double-A Richmond Flying Squirrels (San Francisco Giants affiliate), Biagini made 22 starts in 23 games for 130.1 innings as a 25-year-old. He posted a 2.42 ERA that season, but didn’t have a sub-4.00 ERA in any of his three seasons prior, so some risk remains.
Looking a little further down the road, the 2018 rotation could have a substantial impact on this decision. Even if Biagini is not called upon often in 2017 as a starter, Marco Estrada and Francisco Liriano are schedule to hit free agency following this season. A wave of pitching prospects could be ready by 2018, but with young and unpredictable arms, the more the merrier.
In regards to Osuna, this puts to rest (for now) a conversation that would quickly come to resemble that of Aaron Sanchez the past two seasons.
The young Mexican is a dominant closer, but the temptation to stretch his arsenal over 150+ innings is understandably tempting. Especially when considering the number of plus pitches he throws.