Who will make the team out of the bullpen for the Blue Jays? According to a recent report, a veteran right-hander will not.
According to a report from Sportnet’s Mike Wilner, the Blue Jays have informed veteran right-hander Mat Latos that he will not be on the 25-man roster come opening day.
This move isn’t all that surprising; Latos has not pitched like the ace he used to be when he was a starting pitcher for the San Diego Padres and Cincinnati Reds. Over 14.2 innings pitched this spring, Latos sports a record of 0-2 all while registering a subpar ERA of 6.75.
From here, Latos has a few options. The first option for Latos would be to opt out of his contract and test the free agent waters. While he has not pitched well in spring training, many teams with a pitching hole may take a shot on an MLB veteran who has proven he can get major league hitters out.
If Latos does not care about the success of the team and just wants to pitch in the majors, a team like San Diego could be an ideal landing spot for him. Latos has proven he can pitch at Petco Park, and the team could be willing to give the veteran another shot. While the Padres are in rebuild mode, it never hurts to have a good veteran to teach young pitchers like Luis Perdomo what it’s like to be a major league starting pitcher.
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The other option for Latos, and the one Blue Jays fans are hoping he chooses, is to accept an assignment to AAA Buffalo. Latos mentioned earlier this year that he just wants to pitch, and that accepting an assignment isn’t completely out of the question. One position where the Blue Jays really lack is starting pitching depth, and management knows this. Ross Atkins went on record saying that was an issue for the team.
If Latos accepts his assignment to AAA, that would give the team a capable sixth starter who can remain stretched out as a starter with Buffalo. This would be huge for the team, as if their rotation gets riddled with injuries, their lack of depth could significantly hurt the team’s chances to compete this season. His being in AAA also would theoretically allow the team to carry Mike Bolsinger, who is out of minor league options.
Only time will tell, but Blue Jays fans should be crossing their fingers that Latos accepts his assignment to AAA. Starting pitching depth is huge in order to have success over a full season, and Latos would provide just that.