Blue Jays: It might be time to cut ties with Rafael Dolis
The Toronto Blue Jays relief corps sports a 4.02 ERA on the season, currently ranked 14th in major league baseball. The club has used quite a few different pitchers over the course of the season with injuries being the main cause, with the likes of Kirby Yates and David Phelps being sidelined for most (or in Yates case all) of the season while others found themselves on the 10 or 60-day IL like Julian Merryweather, A.J. Cole, Anthony Castro, Tim Mayza, Carl Edwards Jr. and pretty much every pitcher in the Blue Jays bullpen.
Rafael Dolis also fits on this list, as the Dominican product has faced two different stints on the 10-day IL this year. Signed by the Blue Jays to a two-year deal last off-season, Dolis had spent the past four seasons prior to joining the Jays in Japan with the Hanshin Tigers after a brief tenure in the major leagues back in the early 2010s.
Last year, Dolis came out of the blocks on a rough note before a stellar performance late in the campaign turned him into one of the Jays most effective relievers, finishing the year with a 1.50 ERA with 31 strikeouts, 14 walks, and 1.25 WHIP through 24.0 innings. He was also one of the pitchers to handle save situations last season, notching five saves over six opportunities.
As the Blue Jays are trying to claw their way to the postseason this year, reliever Rafael Dolis may be on the chopping block as he is starting to struggle again.
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This year has been a different story for Dolis, as he has spent most of the year with an ERA over the 4.50 mark. The right-hander has thrown to a 5.46 ERA through 31.1 innings with 39 strikeouts, 26 walks, and a 1.69 WHIP. His opponent’s batting average has crept up to .222 compared to last season’s .193 and with the emergence of Jordan Romano as the Jays closer, Dolis has three saves on the year through four opportunities.
As the Blue Jays try and claw their way into postseason contention, the issue with keeping Dolis on the roster is that he is struggling to perform in high-pressure situations, with the likes of Richards and Cimber being better options at the moment in the later parts of the game. Dolis was actually turning things around in July/early August, where he went 9.2 innings without allowing an earned run before allowing a run against the Angels back on August 10th and last night’s three-run performance with no outs on the board.
Moving forward, it will be tough to find innings for Dolis considering the inconsistency on the mound and the fact that every game is a must-win at this point in the season if the Blue Jays want to make the playoffs.
Factor in that there are a few pitchers down in Buffalo and on the injured list who could possibly be improvements in the pen such as Nate Pearson (who pitched well through his one inning yesterday), Julian Merryweather, Bryan Baker, Curtis Taylor, and Dany Jimenez, and Dolis may not make it the rest of the season.
The last three pitchers mentioned are currently not on the 40-man roster, and even if the Blue Jays called up Pearson to the major leagues and if Merryweather returns soon, somebody would have to go down to AAA or be DFA, putting Dolis on the potential chopping block as he is out of minor league options unless the Blue Jays keep him until the rosters expand in September to 28 players.
It would be a bit of a gamble considering when Dolis is pitching well he can be lights out and dependable in the back end of the bullpen, evidence by last season’s stats. The issue is that with only a month and a half left in the season, the club can’t really afford to hopefully see Dolis bounce back, as the team needs whoever is pitching the best to be in the games, and right now he is at the back of the line.
Overall, if the Blue Jays are serious about contending and every win is a must at this point in the campaign, it might be time to bring in some fresh faces as Dolis and his 5.46 ERA are just not going to cut it.
The club may be wise to cut loose the right-hander and eat whatever is left on his contract, similar to what the franchise did with Tyler Chatwood earlier this month.