The Best of the Rest
Corey Knebel had a tremendous bounce-back season in 2021 for the Los Angeles Dodgers after struggling in 2020 and missing all of the 2019 campaign with an injury.
Knebel was an All-Star in 2017, picking up 39 saves for Milwaukee while pitching to a 1.78 ERA for the Brewers.
The big right-hander only threw 25.2 innings in 2021 for the Dodgers but had a 2.45 ERA and 30 strikeouts, while only permitting a .448 OPS against in high leverage situations.
It’s likely that Knebel will command a multi-year deal while also looking to fill a team’s closer chair but at the very least the Blue Jays should be inquiring with his reps on the possibility of an agreement.
Another former Blue Jay makes the list, although Graveman’s time in Toronto was just 5 games back in 2014.
In his first full season as a reliever in 2021, Graveman found the perfect balance between strikeouts (an even 9 per 9.0 innings pitched) and ground balls (54.9% ground ball %), leading to a career-best season for the Seattle Mariners and later the Houston Astros after a midseason trade.
Graveman has never profiled as a plus strikeout pitcher but if he can build off of 2021, which also saw his velocity at a career-best 96.6 miles per hour, while also mixing in an effective slider, he should be able to settle in as a reliever who can pitch in different spots at a high level.
In addition to boasting one of the best moustaches in Major League Baseball, Andrew Chafin emerged in 2021 as a real weapon out of the bullpen for the Chicago Cubs and Oakland Athletics after a trade, putting up a career-best 1.83 ERA.
Heading into the offseason, the Blue Jays have just Tim Mayza firmly slotted as a left-hander to come out of the bullpen, and Chafin’s ability to get batters out from both sides of the plate, while boasting solid strikeout numbers (64 in 68.2 innings pitched) could make him a perfect addition to the Blue Jays stable of bullpen arms.