A sneaky-good way to improve the bullpen
It’s not exactly a secret that the Blue Jays will be looking to improve their bullpen this offseason, even after the acquisitions of Trevor Richards and Adam Cimber, who thankfully will both return in 2022. I can’t imagine that’s going to be enough to satisfy the front office or the coaching staff though.
In an ideal world the Blue Jays would be able to find someone who is a capable set-up man for Jordan Romano, and hopefully they’d be capable of the occasional save opportunity as well. Romano could shift into a set-up role if the right veteran were acquired, like a Craig Kimbrel from the White Sox (who may be available on the trade market), or if they signed someone like Kenley Jansen. However, I’d be much more interested in chatting with an old organizational friend in Kendall Graveman, who the Jays selected in the 8th round of the 2013 MLB draft.
Graveman was absolutely lights out as the closer for the Seattle Mariners last season, and then they inexplicably dealt him to the Astros where he didn’t fare quite as a well in a set-up role. I’m not sure that the role he serves in matters, like some folks would tell you that it does for a guy like Craig Kimbrel, but I do know that Graveman is a valuable reliever either way.
MLBTR has predicted three years and 27 million for the right-hander, and that could be a bargain for a pitcher like him based on market rates for late-inning relievers these days. I’m not sure that I’d bet on him getting three years either, so if there’s a chance to sign him for two or even three years at less than 10 million per season, I have to think the Blue Jays are interested.
The presence of guys like Romano, Tim Mayza, Cimber, and even wild cards like Julian Merryweather and Nate Pearson make for a promising bullpen for the Blue Jays in 2022 and beyond. However, a known commodity like Graveman might go a long way toward shoring things up, and could provide a ton of value at a pretty reasonable rate.