Blue Jays: Is free agent Chris Tillman really the answer?

TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 04: Chris Tillman
TORONTO, ON - OCTOBER 04: Chris Tillman /

According to Jon Morosi of the MLB Network, the Toronto Blue Jays have shown interest in free agent hurler Chris Tillman however after his disastrous 2017 campaign is Tillman really the answer to solidify the Blue Jays starting staff?

There is no doubt that Chris Tillman is AL East battle-tested after spending the previous nine seasons pitching for the Baltimore Orioles. The question is are the best days behind the former ace after he battled shoulder issues last season and pitched to an ugly 7.84 earned run average in 19 starts.

Tillman had a successful 2016 campaign going 16-6 with a 3.77 earned run average and getting the nod for the Wild Card game versus the Blue Jays. Unfortunately for Tillman, those numbers did not translate in 2017 and he surrendered 24 round trippers in 93 innings averaging an ugly 2.3 HR per 9 innings rate.

The Jays may want to reconsider their interest level after reviewing his career line while pitching at the friendly confines of the Rogers Centre. In 13 career starts in Toronto, Tillman has not fared well, to say the least, he has a 7.01 earned run average while being scorched for 20 gopher balls in 68 innings on the bump north of the border. That line screams “See you in Buffalo” more than home-field advantage.

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Tillman earned $10.05 million last season but will be in tough to eclipse anything close to that amount this time around. He may be interested in a one-year pact in an attempt to boost his value and tempt fate again next season as a free agent. At this stage of the game, it does not seem likely many teams will be lining up to offer Tillman multi-year deals.

The Jays are in the market for at the bare minimum one more starter which would afford them the luxury of utilizing Joe Biagini back in the bullpen. The need for Biagini in the pen is magnified now that Dominic Leone was shipped to St. Louis.

The likes of free agents Alex Cobb, Lance Lynn and Jake Arrieta would definitely solidify the Jays rotation and increase their chances of success in 2018. However those hurlers also come with a hefty price tag, a multi-year commitment and draft pick compensation attached to them. Yu Darvish is the only big name hurler who won’t cost any compensation because the fact he was traded last season midway through the season so he does not qualify.

As much as I would love to see Darvish in Toronto, the likelihood is slim to none of the Jays partaking in any type of significant negotiation for the hurler.

Next: Blue Jays have become sneaky good this offseason

Tillman may be an adequate buy-low candidate for a team but he is not going to catapult the Blue Jays to the promised land and really isn’t much of an upgrade over Biagini. Hopefully, the Jays can lure something a little more significant to conclude their offseason.