Where the Jays Relievers Rank
Entering play on Thursday, the Blue Jays did not have a reliever in the top 20 in ERA among American League relief pitchers. Beyond that, the bullpen as a whole is 19th in the league in ERA, 11th in relief losses, 14th in earned runs, and 19th in relief wins. Simply put, they’re average in every possible way.
Seunghwan Oh and Tyler Clippard are both tied for 16th in the American League in strikeouts among relievers, while John Axford in 15th in the AL in innings pitched by a reliever and 28th total games played. They’re average relievers, they’re rather streaky at times and they have difficulty stringing together several good outings.
Still, they’re a veteran presence, they don’t cost much, and they’re relatively versatile in their ability to close games and pitch the middle innings. Considering they’re signed on minor league contracts, they’re also relatively expendable.
Even though Ryan Tepera is not considered one of the most likely Blue Jays relievers to get dealt, he too could fetch some quality prospects. With a 2.97 ERA and six saves, he’s also struck out 43 and has walked just 12. Overall, he’s been worth 0.9 WAR.
We’ve seen what contenders are willing to do for some decent relief help. While Francisco Liriano wasn’t necessarily acquired to be a reliever, his acquisition turned out to be nothing more than a deal to obtain some bullpen help. One outfield prospect later, Blue Jays fans are still admiring the work of the front office – they played the market right.