Blue Jays: Around the diamond, who might be the next man up
I toyed with not even including the bullpen, mostly because it’s the most difficult to predict and where the most outside help could come in. We’ve already seen Ross Atkins sign Daniel Hudson late in the offseason, and also let go of Bud Norris, so that’s the kind of thing I’m referring to.
Right now the bullpen is made up of Hudson, Gaviglio, Ken Giles, Tim Mayza, Joe Biagini, Elvis Luciano, and Javy Guerra. While there are a few pieces that could stick, I expect that the Blue Jays will have a pretty typical bullpen with lots of moving parts.
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They’ll eventually get back some arms that are currently injured like David Phelps, John Axford, and of course Ryan Tepera. They’ll also likely turn to plenty of minor leaguers who will get a chance to get their feet wet at the highest level as well. That list could include some potential starters like Pannone or Paulino, but there others who could fit the bill as well, such as Patrick Murphy, Yennys Diaz, or Hector Perez.
Of course, it’s also possible that Atkins and company continue to keep their eyes closely peeled to the waiver wire, as several teams have to juggle their rosters throughout the year, and that sometimes means a potential contributor is made available, such as what happened with Hudson.
Don’t be surprised if the Blue Jays elect to use potential starters like Buchholz or Richard out of the bullpen either, rather than sacrifice the rotation spot of Thornton or eventually Borucki. Buchholz’s contract included some incentives in the event that he’s used out of the ‘pen, and Richard is no stranger to the role either and could have value as a second lefty, and one that could provide length as well.
The group might not have the experience and fortitude of the group in the Yankees’ bullpen, but there should be plenty of serviceable arms to call upon throughout the year, and maybe even more available later on as well.
So while it might feel like Ross Atkins the Blue Jays front office cleared out the locker room (and they really kinda did), there are still plenty of capable bodies throughout the organization. This leadership group has made building depth a big part of their emphasis over the last few years, and while this team is far from a finished product, they’re pretty well covered top to down if things change, and we know they will continue to do just that.