The Blue Jays recently checked in on Matt Harvey as a potential bullpen candidate. Since they passed on him, does that mean they’re still looking for an upgrade?
Even though Major League Baseball has come to a pause, just like every other professional sports league in North America, teams still have to prepare like the season could start sooner than later.
With that in mind, the Blue Jays could be one of the teams still looking for an upgrade as Opening Day nears, whenever that may be. I say that because they held a widely reported workout for Matt Harvey the other day, ultimately passing on the veteran right-hander. What makes that workout even more interesting is that the Blue Jays were exploring the idea of Harvey as a reliever, and it might mean they’re not quite satisfied with the group they’ve got.
The Blue Jays don’t exactly have a bullpen that’s set in stone right now, and with the delay to the start of the season things get even more complicated. Right now, Ken Giles obviously has a job on lockdown, and one would think that others like Shun Yamaguchi, Sam Gaviglio, Anthony Bass, and Wilmer Font are likely to make the squad. We could also see MiLB contracts like A.J. Cole and Justin Miller, who have impressed, and Jordan Romano looked like he was poised to make the team before the disruption. Rafael Dolis wasn’t expected to be ready for the start of the regular season, but now he very well could be.
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That might be a strong enough group, but there’s never any harm in adding pitching depth, and hopefully raising the floor. That was likely the idea with Harvey, but the Blue Jays ultimately decided that wasn’t the route they wanted to go for one reason or another. There are still a handful of options on the free agent market, especially if the Blue Jays are mostly interested in a MiLB contract with a new addition, but they could also wait to see what Opening Day brings.
Whenever that takes place, there will be talented players being cut from other rosters around the league, and it might be worthwhile waiting to see what becomes available. Just as the Blue Jays are facing a tough decision with a player like Anthony Alford, who is out of minor league options and has to make the team in order to be retained, other opportunities could come up.
It’s hard to say why there wasn’t a match between Harvey and the Blue Jays, but obviously things didn’t work out, at least for now. Jon Heyman was the one with the original report, and he noted that this workout took place “several weeks back”, so this obviously has nothing to do with the suspension of the league going on.
So while the players will likely have an interesting challenge filling their time and preparing for a season with no firm start date, the front office in Toronto might use it to continue to look for bullpen upgrades. If they explored using Harvey in the role, it shows they’re willing to be creative, and likely that they’d still like to add more depth to the position.