Blue Jays interested in former Red Sox reliever
The Toronto Blue Jays continue their offseason quest for upgrades as the brain trust look to revamp the bottom dwelling Blue Jays into contenders once again in 2018.
According to Ben Nicholson Smith of Sportsnet the Blue Jays may be interested in the services of free-agent southpaw Robbie Ross.
The 28-year is coming off an injury riddled campaign where back and elbow issues limited him to just 8 appearances in 2017 for the Boston Red Sox. The hurler earned $1.825 million last season and could be a buy-low candidate with some decent upside if healthy.
In Robbie Ross, the Blue Jays would get some much needed bullpen help from the left-side. Ross is a groundball pitcher and battle tested in the American League East having pitched the past three-seasons with the Bo-Sox.
In 2016, Ross made 54 appearances with a respectable 3.25 earned run average while fanning 56 in 55.1 innings of work. He sports a career 3.92 earned run average over a six year span with the Red Sox and Rangers. Ross is not your traditional lefty specialist as his splits versus lefties and righties over his career are similar, with lefties hitting .255, while righties an uptick better at .271 over a six year span.
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The Jays utilized the likes of Aaron Loup, Tim Mayza and Matt Dermody as their left-handed options out of the pen in 2017. Although Loup put a decent stat line last season accumulating a 3.75 earned run average, he still surrendered more hits than innings pitched, serving up 59 hits in 57.2 innings of work.
Mayza has a great arm but may need a little seasoning in the minors after looking overmatched at times during his 19 appearances. He boasts an inflated 6.88 earned run average, however he did fan 27 batters in 17 innings during his rookie campaign so the stuff is definitely there.
Dermody, who prior to thia season was best known for streaking through the Jays clubhouse during their postseason celebrations, pitched surprisingly well in 2017. The 27-year old made 23 appearances limiting lefties to a 1.95 batting average. He may project as a situational LOOGY as righties ate him for lunch hitting .326 off of him at the highest level.
Next: Does John Lackey make sense for the Blue Jays in 2018?
Ross would provide the bullpen with some experience and if healthy could be better than any of the current options available from the left-side. A worthy gamble if the price is right.