After another tough outing for Rafael Dolis on Monday, it’s probably time for the Blue Jays to consider swapping around some bullpen roles.
In the immediate term, my first thought is that Anthony Castro will likely move into more of a late-inning role and could even become the new eighth inning guy for the time being. At the moment Jordan Romano is clearly Charlie Montoyo’s preferred option as the closer, and he’s been the most reliable reliever available lately. Having said that, I would argue that Castro would be second on that list.
To be fair, the bullpen has been in shambles lately and that’s largely due to a ton of injuries they’ve sustained. Currently on the Injured List the Blue Jays have a group of arms that includes Ryan Borucki, Julian Merryweather, Travis Bergen, A.J. Cole, and Tommy Milone, while also losing late-inning veteran options like David Phelps and Kirby Yates for the season. Thomas Hatch and Patrick Murphy are getting close to being available, as they’ve worked their way back from injuries of their own. That injury bug has also bitten some current relievers like Romano, Dolis, and more at other times too.
All that said, the season marches on and the Blue Jays have to find a way to make things work. Unfortunately Tyler Chatwood seems to have lost the magic that made him nearly untouchable to begin the campaign, and somehow these days he’s borderline unusable. They could have some new reinforcements on the way in guys like Hatch or Murphy, but as far as securing the late innings I would argue that the best option would be Castro.
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He was a bit of an unknown when the Jays brought him in, but he’s quietly putting together a very impressive resume so far. Across 14 appearances and 15.0 innings the right-hander has posted an ERA of 1.80 and a WHIP of 0.87, striking out 19 against five walks.
Lately it’s looked like Montoyo has started to increase his trust in the 26-year-old, both because of his results and due to the lack of other effective options. That said, Castro has generally answered the call regardless of what inning he’s been asked to pitch. In limited opportunities he’s already picked up a save and a hold, so it wouldn’t be his first time either.
More importantly, it’s clear that Dolis needs a break from high leverage innings. Hopefully he can get back on track because the Blue Jays are going to need all of the stability they can find, especially in light of so many injuries. Unfortunately Dolis hasn’t really been able to provide that as he’s now seen his ERA rise to 5.14 and his WHIP up to 1.52 over 21.0 innings.
With late-inning relievers like Yates and Phelps lost for the year, it’s doubly unfortunate that Dolis and Chatwood haven’t been able to pick up the slack. With that in mind, I think it’s time to try the “next man up” strategy once more, and Castro stands out as the most sensible option.