Toronto Blue Jays News

The internal options the Blue Jays have for the bullpen on Opening Day

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 01: (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT) Julian Merryweather #67 of the Toronto Blue Jays in action against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on April 01, 2021 in New York City. The Blue Jays defeated the Yankees 3-2 in ten innings. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NEW YORK - APRIL 01: (NEW YORK DAILIES OUT) Julian Merryweather #67 of the Toronto Blue Jays in action against the New York Yankees at Yankee Stadium on April 01, 2021 in New York City. The Blue Jays defeated the Yankees 3-2 in ten innings. (Photo by Jim McIsaac/Getty Images) /
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ST PETERSBURG, FLORIDA – SEPTEMBER 22: Julian Merryweather #67 of the Toronto Blue Jays walks off the field following the first inning against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field on September 22, 2021 in St Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Julio Aguilar/Getty Images) /

*All players on this slide are on the 40-man roster*

Julian Merryweather – RHP

Acquired in the infamous Josh Donaldson trade with the St. Louis Cardinals, right-hander Julian Merryweather made his MLB debut in 2020 with the Blue Jays and made the Opening Day roster the following campaign. He was stellar for the Jays to begin the year, yielding only one hit and one walk through four appearances while striking out seven batters, five of which were Yankees batters including Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Hicks, Gleyber Torres (x2), and Gary Sanchez. He also earned two saves (both against the Yankees) and was looking to be an absolute weapon for the club early in the season.

An oblique injury sent him to the injured list in mid-April and he would miss a majority of the campaign on the IL and rehabbing in the minors, returning to the active roster in early September. Merryweather would be lit up for three earned runs upon his return courtesy of an Anthony Santander home run while facing the Orioles, and while he did pitch a few scoreless innings to finish the year, he was not nearly as dominant compared to how he came out of the gate. Merryweather is a potential candidate to make the Opening Day roster but he will need to put the injury problems behind him and hopefully find his early 2021 form, as he will be battling for a bullpen spot in Spring Training.

Ryan Borucki – LHP

Southpaw Ryan Borucki made a pretty strong impression on the Blue Jays fanbase back in 2018 when he made 17 starts and pitched to a 3.87 ERA. What looked to be a promising young starter, an elbow injury during his sophomore campaign has the former 15th round draft pick situated in the bullpen rather than the rotation.

After pitching a strong 2020 campaign (2.70 ERA through 21 appearances) as a reliever, Borucki struggled in 2021, both on the mound and staying healthy. He made 13 appearances before landing on the IL in mid-May with a flexor strain and missing the next two months. He would return on July 16th but would be sent back down to the minors on August 8th, appearing in only four more games in late September. Borucki would finish the year with a 4.94 ERA through 24 appearances while earning a 4.2 BB/9 and a 5.66 FIP.

The Toronto Blue Jays have a few open spots in the bullpen come Opening Day and there are some internal candidates who could fill in.

With the emergence of Tim Mayza, Tayler Saucedo, and Kirby Snead last season, Borucki is in tough competition when it comes to left-handed options in the bullpen. Fans are aware of what he is capable of when looking back at his 2018 and 2020 campaigns but with limited spots available this year, staying healthy and starting strong in 2022 will go a long way for the Illinois product who is entering his first year of arbitration.

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