The Blue Jays have signed Joe Biagini to a minor league deal, and the popular former fan favourite in Toronto will look to get his career back on track with the team that gave him his start in the big leagues.
The news of a MiLB deal with the Blue Jays came from MLB.com’s Keegan Matheson on Thursday, and it was met with a lot more enthusiasm than the average MiLB contract these days. That’s because Biagini was very well liked during his first go-around with the Blue Jays, and he endeared himself to the fan base with his oddball sense of humour as much as his performance.
The former Rule 5 pick spent parts of four seasons with the Blue Jays from 2016-19, and posted a 4.78 ERA and a 1.429 WHIP across 204 appearances. He split his time between the rotation and the bullpen, and had a lot more success with the latter. Still, he made 22 starts during his time with the Jays as well, but the results say he likely should have stayed in the bullpen.
Biagini’s best season came in 2019 when he had a 3.78 ERA and a 1.340 WHIP across 50.0 innings as a reliever. Unfortunately that was also the year he was dealt to Houston in a swap that didn’t work out for either team. Biagini was packaged along with Aaron Sanchez and Cal Stevenson in exchange for Derek Fisher. While Fisher turned out to be a major flop in Toronto, the same could be said for what the Astros got back for him, including Biagini’s time there.
Still only 31, Biagini is a nice addition to the relief corps, if only in the way of adding some depth. As we saw last year, injuries can take their toll on a pitching staff in a real hurry, and unless the luck in Toronto changes in 2022 then they’ll need plenty of arms once again. It’s hard to see him cracking the Opening Day roster, especially after he struggled again in 2021 with the Cubs’ organization (working as a starter), but the bullpen can be a volatile place, and maybe he’ll find his groove again.
For what it’s worth, I’d love to see Biagini find a way to make his way back to the big leagues. He’s a fun guy to have around, and a great little signing on a MiLB deal.