Jason Grilli is the heart and soul of the Toronto Blue Jays bullpen, however, the Jays may be facing a difficult conundrum with the veteran reliever if his earned run average continues to implode.
The Toronto Blue Jays may have caught lightening in a bottle last season when the Jays acquired Jason Grilli at the end of May from the downward spiraling Atlanta Braves for minor league pitcher Sean Ratcliffe.
Grilli was nothing short of spectacular once north of the border pitching usually out of the 8th inning as a set-up man for skipper John Gibbons. The intense, fan favorite was thrust into high leverage situations almost nightly and welcomed the challenge like no other solidifying the back end of the bullpen.
The 40-year old made 46 regular season appearances for the Jays in 2016 spitballing a 3.64 earned run average while fanning 58 in 42 innings of work. Grilli also made 5 postseason appearances not surrendering a run in any of his playoff outings.
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The Blue Jays made the no-brainer decision to pick up the relievers $3 million dollar option and enlist his services for the 2017 campaign.
However, like many of the Jays players this season Grilli has stumbled out of the gate and has pitched himself out of the 8th inning role.
Grilli is 1-3 with an earned run average of 10.38 surrendering 10 runs in 8.2 innings of work thus far. The aging hurler has also been the victim of 4 long balls already in 2017.
After the Blue Jays horrendous April, they can ill afford to squander winnable games and keep running Grilli out in tight ball games hoping he finds himself. John Gibbons may have to very well utilize Grilli in mop up games until he once again proves he can get major league batters out.
It is unfortunate but the time may come in the near future where the Blue Jays brain trust will be faced with a conundrum on what to do with a 40-year old reliever who no longer can hit his locations consistently.
No matter how much we love the intensity and what “Grilli-Cheese” brings to the team, sometimes all good things have to come to an end and unfortunately, the end may be sooner than later for this aging arm.