The situation has changed a little bit in the bullpen recently, and given the current circumstances the Blue Jays should consider adding another back of the bullpen type of arm.
The Blue Jays had a disappointing road trip playing the Texas Rangers and Kansas City Royals, but they ultimately ended things on a high note on Sunday. They avoided a series sweep at the hands of the Royals with the victory, but it was also the return of Roberto Osuna to the mound. He looked great as well, fanning three hitters in a scoreless ninth inning.
Hopefully the club can ride the positive momentum into the crucial stretch they’re about to embark on, playing against the Orioles, Red Sox, and Yankees over nine days, starting on Tuesday evening. That said, the last stretch revealed (to me at least) that the Jays need to add in the bullpen if they’re going to contend this season.
I talked about this topic a few weeks ago when I suggested the team should look at then free agent, Neftali Feliz. Feliz has since signed with the Royals, and will look to turn his season around in a new environment.
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At the time, the rationale against taking a chance on someone like Feliz was that the Jays didn’t have room in their bullpen, unless they made another significant move. With Osuna, Joe Smith, Ryan Tepera, Danny Barnes, Aaron Loup, Jason Grilli, and Joe Biagini (eventually), the stable would be full, and that’s without making a decision on J.P. Howell when he’s eventually healthy.
The situation has changed since then, as Smith is now on the DL, though he isn’t expected to be out for the long term. When he returns the depth will be stronger, but there are a couple of other factors for the front office to consider.
It was fantastic to see Roberto Osuna back on the field on Sunday and hopefully he can continue to pitch, as he’s talked about feeling his best on the diamond. However, I don’t know if the Blue Jays should assume that he will be available, and it may be smart to add an additional arm in case their talented closer needs time off. It was wonderful to see the organization and fan base stand with him, and there’s no reason to think they won’t do the same if he does need a break.
There’s also the struggles of Jason Grilli to consider, and whether or not the team can afford to let him continue to occupy one of the spots in the pen. As beloved as the veteran is, if the team is in a position to contend this season and he hasn’t turned things around, then they’ll be left with no choice but to cut him loose. If not for his status in the clubhouse and with the fan base, it’s entirely possible that it would have happened by now.
With those two things in mind, I’m hopeful that the front office is at least exploring a few options, and seeing who may be available. Of course, the team will need to have a good stretch over the next 10 day, or adding may be out of the equation altogether.
Call me an optimist, but I still believe this team can fight for a playoff spot by the time the dust settles. If they come out ahead in next 13 games before the All-Star break, the Blue Jays should be buyers in July, and hopefully they’ll add someone who can provide another boost at the back of the bullpen.