Toronto Blue Jays News

Blue Jays: Recapping what’s gone wrong in the bullpen this season

TORONTO, ON - AUGUST 07: Adam Cimber #90 of the Toronto Blue Jays is pulled from the mound by Charlie Montoyo #25 in the eight inning of Game Two of the doubleheader MLB game against the Boston Red Sox at Rogers Centre on August 7, 2021 in Toronto, Ontario. (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - AUGUST 07: Adam Cimber #90 of the Toronto Blue Jays is pulled from the mound by Charlie Montoyo #25 in the eight inning of Game Two of the doubleheader MLB game against the Boston Red Sox at Rogers Centre on August 7, 2021 in Toronto, Ontario. (Photo by Cole Burston/Getty Images) /
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Apr 5, 2021; Arlington, Texas, USA; Toronto Blue Jays catcher Alejandro Kirk (30) hands the game ball to relief pitcher Rafael Dolis (41) after they defeat the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 5, 2021; Arlington, Texas, USA; Toronto Blue Jays catcher Alejandro Kirk (30) hands the game ball to relief pitcher Rafael Dolis (41) after they defeat the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Field. Mandatory Credit: Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports /

Missed expectations and disappointing results

As much as injuries have hurt the bullpen, the arms that have been available to Charlie Montoyo and Pete Walker haven’t performed the way that most of us hoped for or expected.

Outside of Jordan Romano and Tim Mayza, I’m not sure that you could say anybody has outperformed those expectations. As a fan, I think that’s what drives me the most nuts about this whole thing. On paper there is so much talent, and yet it’s been one frustration after another.

I figured this was an area that’s even worthy of recapping just how many relievers have disappointed.

Rafael Dolis

Expectation: Late-inning reliever, possible candidate to save some games
Reality: 5.63 ERA, 1.750 WHIP, -0.3 bWAR, DFA’d on Wednesday

Tyler Chatwood

Expectation: Late to middle inning arm, hard-throwing strikeout arm
Reality: 5.46 ERA, 1.429 WHIP, -0.1 bWAR, 28 IP, DFA’d on July 30

Ryan Borucki

Expectation: Late-inning lefty, high leverage candidate
Reality: Injured most of the year, 5.12 ERA, 1.138 WHIP, 19.1 IP, -0.1 bWAR, option to Triple-A

Brad Hand

Expectation: Experienced late-inning reliever with closer’s experience, help for Romano
Reality: 7.50 ERA as a Blue Jay

Trent Thornton

Expectation: Long-man for bullpen, solid right-handed contributor
Reality: 4.71 ERA, 1.405 WHIP, 42 IP, -0.4 bWAR

Anthony Kay

Expectation: Long-man/spot starter, effective reliever in 2020
Reality: 5.61 ERA, 1.663 WHIP, 33.2 IP, -0.1 bWAR

I could go on, but I think you get my point here. Outside of a handful of reliable contributors, there are times when I truly feel bad for the coaching staff as they try to decide where to turn after they’ve taken their starter out.

Between injuries and disappointing performances, that should be enough on it’s own to make things tough for the Blue Jays bullpen. That said, I’d argue there’s at least one more factor at play here.

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