Putting together this team of the best Blue Jays players of all time has been fun. Like all things, this must come to an end.
I’ve assembled an eight-man bullpen. Next week I’ll reveal a four-player rotation in the outfield and a designated hitter to wrap up this nostalgic look back.
I’m very aware that my list may not look like your list and that’s ok. I’m confident in my picks and am willing to defend them!
Blue Jays All-Time Bullpen
This dominant duo was the ultimate shutdown force at the back-end of the ‘pen leading up to the Blue Jays triumph in the 1992 World Series.
Known as the “Terminator”, Henke had his lone All-Star season in 1987 when he led the AL in saves, with 34. He sported an ERA of 1.92 over 89 innings in 1989 and surrendered just one earned run over seven postseason appearances in ’92.
Ward really got his chance to shine starting in 1988. That season marked the first of five straight years in which Ward eclipsed the 100-inning mark. The fact that he did that without starting a single game is a testament to his durability and his competitiveness.
Following his half-decade stretch as the setup guy to Henke, Ward became the closer in 1993 and led the league in saves, was named an All-Star, and finished fifth in Cy Young voting.
Jason Frasor made his first appearance out of the Jays’ bullpen in April of 2004. He would continue emerging out of that familiar location in centerfield. In fact, by the time his Blue Jays career came to an end, Frasor had made more appearances than any pitcher in team history.
I wanted to make sure I had at least a couple of lefty relievers and it’s hard to think of one tougher and more versatile than David “Boomer” Wells.
Part three in the Blue Jays All-Time roster takes a look at the bullpen.
Although he found some success as a starter, he was dealt to Detroit following a rough 1992 season that saw his ERA balloon to 5.40. Wells found himself back in blue for the 1999 and 2000 seasons, when he was established as one of the best starters in the American League.
Mike Timlin was one of those pitchers that made you feel nervous just watching. He never seemed to take the easy road, but those nerve-wracking moments were memorable, that’s for sure.
Timlin spent 1991-1997 with the Jays and earns the nod thanks to his strong performance in the World Series in both 1992 and 1993.
Casey Janssen earned his spot on this team by being one of the most consistent relievers in team history.
He began his career as a starter in 2006 with less than great results. Janssen made the move to the bullpen the next year and the improvement was stark. 2007 marked the first of four sub-3 ERA, 50-inning plus seasons.
Brett Cecil gained a new leash on his pitching life when he switched to the bullpen after stumbling as a starter in 2011.
“Squints” broke out in 2013 when he was named an All-Star for the first time. He would go on to post two more sub-3.00, 70+K seasons before signing with the St. Louis Cardinals prior to the 2017 season.
Paul Quantrill has the distinction of being the only Canadian-born player to crack this prestigious roster.
Born in London, Ontario, Quantrill became a member of the Blue Jays in 1996. He was still trying his hand as a starter at that point. After going 5-14 with a 5.43 ERA, Paul was moved to the bullpen for good.
His last season in Toronto may have been his best. He went 11-2 with a 3.04 ERA, was named an All-Star, and led the league in appearances, the first time in a four-year stretch of him doing so.