The Toronto Blue Jays added Jason Grilli in a midseason trade from the Atlanta Braves
With more difficult decisions waiting in the coming days, the Toronto Blue Jays front office has started things off with a tap-in birdie.
In an expected move that general manager Ross Atkins all but confirmed a week ago, the Blue Jays have reportedly exercised their 2017 option on right-handed relief pitcher Jason Grilli.
This option quickly became an easy decision for the Blue Jays, but at the time of his arrival in Toronto, that wasn’t the case at all. The Atlanta Braves unloaded him for a low-level prospect in a move that was effectively a salary dump, and in taking the risk, Toronto has emerged a winner from the deal.
After his move north on May 31st, Jason Grilli moved into a late-inning role and provided the Blue Jays bullpen with a needed veteran presence. He posted a 3.64 ERA in 46 appearances with Toronto, striking out a whopping 58 batters in 42.0 innings pitched.
Aside from Grilli’s own performance, this move was made easier for the Blue Jays by the relative lack of MLB-ready depth in their bullpen. Closer Roberto Osuna is firmly entrenched as the nucleus, but with Brett Cecil and Joaquin Benoit entering free agency, the Blue Jays urgently need some late-inning insurance. Joe Biagini was able to provide that in 2016, but could be stretched out as a starter this coming spring.
The veteran also had an impact on all three stages of the Blue Jays’ 2016 playoff run. He made one appearance in the Wild Card with two in the ALDS and ALCS, combining to pitch three and two-thirds scoreless innings with three strikeouts and just one hit allowed and zero walks issued.
Grilli will turn 40 on November 11th. The Blue Jays are his ninth MLB team in 14 seasons.