Blue Jays: Early prediction about free agent additions
This might be one of the strongest areas of the team heading into 2018, and it could be a very formidable group if they can add a shut down left-hander to the mix. With names like Roberto Osuna, Dominic Leone, Ryan Tepera, Danny Barnes, and more returning, the Jays should have plenty of depth from the right side, but they could use some help on the left side.
Both Tim Mayza and Matt Dermody impressed in their stints with the big club and could get an extended look in spring training. That said, I’d love to see the Blue Jays address the position with a veteran arm as well, much like they tried to do with J.P. Howell in 2017. Unfortunately that didn’t work out at all, but that happens when you’re building a bullpen. It really can be a crap shoot from year to year.
There are actually some decent options in free agency this year, depending on how much the front office wants to spend on the position. There are names like Jake McGee, Matt Albers, Oliver Perez, Zach Duke, and maybe others like Jerry Blevins if their options aren’t picked up. Francisco Liriano will be a free agent, and as strange as it sounds, he could be a very nice fit in a bullpen if he can’t find a gig as a starting pitcher, but that’s a bit of a stretch obviously.
If it were up to me, I would target a guy like Mike Minor, who pitched out of the bullpen for the Kansas City Royals this season. He might be looking to get back to the rotation as he’s done throughout his career, but he’s proven to be a very effective reliever, posting a 2.55 ERA across 77.1 innings this season. He’s battled a host of arm injuries in his career, but at just 29 (he’ll be 30 on Opening Day), it looks like he’s finally healthy and in a great position to succeed.
His price tag could be ore than the Jays want to spend, but he would offer some potential stability from the left side, and maybe someone who could start in the event of injury, and especially if Mayza and Dermody can hold down a big league gig next year. Minor has a mutual option for 2018 with the Royals, but my guess is one or both parties would be willing to part ways. The Royals will need the cap space, and Minor may want to capitalize after a solid season.