Blue Jays: Nate Pearson could help fill Giles’ shoes for now

BALTIMORE, MD - AUGUST 18: Nate Pearson #24 of the Toronto Blue Jays pitches in the third inning during a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on August 18, 2020 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MD - AUGUST 18: Nate Pearson #24 of the Toronto Blue Jays pitches in the third inning during a baseball game against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on August 18, 2020 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images) /
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Ken Giles has been lost for the year (and more) to Tommy John surgery, but another hard-throwing righty may be healthy in time to help fill his shoes.

It’s a shame that Ken Giles has had so many injury troubles since joining the Blue Jays, because when he’s been healthy he’s been one of the better closers in all of baseball.

With Monday’s news that he’ll be undergoing Tommy John surgery, it’s now confirmed that he won’t be available to help the Blue Jays again this season, and he likely won’t pitch in a MLB game again until sometime in 2022. It’s a tremendous shame, but at 30 years old Giles is still plenty young enough to rebound and continue his career after he’s rehabbed the injury.

As for the Blue Jays, they’re going to need to figure out how to cover for his absence, which is something they’ve been used to for the majority of this season anyway. They’ve been fortunate to get solid back-end contributions from guys like Anthony Bass and Rafael Dolis, who have both been effective as closers or as set-up men. Jordan Romano was another effective late-inning reliever before he hit the Injured List, and with a bullpen scheduled for this week it’s possible he could return in time to help for the playoffs too.

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All that said, the Blue Jays might have another exciting weapon to add to the mix in Nate Pearson, who has also been throwing lately and is almost ready to be activated. We already know that he won’t return to a starter’s role without time to build up his stamina again, but that doesn’t mean he can’t find a significant role in the bullpen.

With the aforementioned Bass, Dolis, and hopefully Romano, Pearson wouldn’t have to step into the closer’s role. However, he could be a very effective late-inning weapon as long as he’s got control of his fastball. And while he’s developing a nice four-pitch mix, the ability to pare down to a fastball-slider combo as a reliever could be lethal for the time being.

It’s doubtful that Montoyo or the Blue Jays will want to use him on back to back days, but again, with the other relievers present it shouldn’t be required of him anyway. However, if he could be available to pitch an important inning or two in a three-game series, or even act as someone to back up a starter that could get pulled early, the organization’s top prospect can still leave a stamp on the 2020 season, even if it hasn’t gone according to plan at all so far.

Next. Blue Jays being handed a playoff spot by the competition. dark

In my eyes, the Blue Jays should be entering the post-season (assuming they get there) with their eyes wide open, and their expectations in check. They’ll be there to play to win, as they should, and I still believe they’ll be a dangerous opponent, especially a short series, but the experience for this young core will be more important than the results. If Pearson can find a way to taste the post-season, and hopefully strengthen the bullpen, all the better for everyone.

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