Toronto Blue Jays News

Blue Jays Winter Checklist: What else do they need?

TORONTO, CANADA - DECEMBER 4: President Mark Shapiro looks on as Ross Atkins speaks to the media as Atkins is introduced as the new general manager of the Toronto Blue Jays during a press conference on December 4, 2015 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)
TORONTO, CANADA - DECEMBER 4: President Mark Shapiro looks on as Ross Atkins speaks to the media as Atkins is introduced as the new general manager of the Toronto Blue Jays during a press conference on December 4, 2015 at Rogers Centre in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images) /
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Oct 31, 2021; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Houston Astros relief pitcher Yimi Garcia (93) throws against the Atlanta Braves during the third inning of game five of the 2021 World Series at Truist Park. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports /

You can never have enough pitching

The Blue Jays made a sneaky-good signing on the weekend by agreeing to a two-year contract with Yimi Garcia that could become a three-year deal if he reaches all of the incentives. The 31 year old spent time as a closer for the Miami Marlins last season before he was dealt to the Astros, and is a capable late-inning arm.

With the addition of Garcia the Blue Jays are in strong shape in the bullpen as well. A lot of that strength will depend on the health of their group as a whole, but right now I think the depth chart looks something like this:

1- Jordan Romano
2- Tim Mayza
3- Garcia
4- Adam Cimber
5- Trevor Richards
6- Julian Merryweather
7- Ryan Borucki
8- Pearson/Stripling

Depending on what happens with the fifth spot in the rotation, the Blue Jays could roll with one or both of Nate Pearson and/or Ross Stripling at the back of the pen. That would provide some nice length for the group, and Pearson could evolve into a significant weapon for the late innings with his overpowering fastball.

Speaking of elite fastballs, that’s exactly what Merryweather and Borucki can bring to the table if only they can stay healthy. For any Blue Jays fan that has followed this team over the last few seasons, you know that is a very big ‘if’.

With that in mind, I think the Blue Jays still need to bring in one more significant piece to add to the bullpen, and ideally someone else who can pitch in the late innings. Romano and Mayza were fantastic in 2021, but they’re both still relatively inexperienced in the roles. The more support they have, the better. Ideally Merryweather will be able to help in the 8th and 9th innings as well, and Garcia is going to be a nice arm to have that way.

However, if you could add one or even two more reliable veteran relievers then I think you have to do it. The 2021 campaign showed us just how important relief pitching depth can be, and even though the Blue Jays still have plenty of viable options that will likely pitch in Triple-A next season, their goals have to be different now. This is a franchise that has committed to at least 391 million to Springer, Berrios, and Gausman over the last 12 months, so skimping on the bullpen doesn’t seem all that wise.

I expect that there will be at least one more reputable arm added to the bullpen before Opening Day. Whether that comes from the free agent or trade market remains to be seen, and it could be another area that Atkins and company exercise some patience.

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