Blue Jays: Ryan Borucki may be on the outside looking in

Jul 31, 2021; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Ryan Borucki (56) looks on against the Kansas City Royals at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports
Jul 31, 2021; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Ryan Borucki (56) looks on against the Kansas City Royals at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Kevin Sousa-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Blue Jays could have some stiff competition in their bullpen, and for Ryan Borucki that likely means an uphill battle to make the team, or even to continue his career as a Blue Jay.

Now that he’s out of minor league options, Borucki will have to make the Opening Day roster or risk being exposed to the waiver wire. While things haven’t gone so well for the hard-throwing lefty over the last couple of years, there is enough upside to his skill set that I’d be pretty surprised if he went unclaimed.

Last season was another frustrating campaign for the 27 year old, as he struggled to stay healthy, and also to perform at his best while he was capable of taking the mound. He spent more time between the Injured List and Triple-A than he did on the big league roster, and in the meantime the Blue Jays have addressed the bullpen in a big way. Last season they acquired both Adam Cimber and Trevor Richards, who both remain with the team, and they’ve continued adding this spring. They signed Yimi Garcia to a two-year deal before the lockout began, and added a pair of arms on minor league deals in David Phelps and Joe Biagini as well.

The most recent signing might be the biggest blow to Borucki’s future in Toronto, as the Blue Jays gave Andrew Vasquez a big league contract on Friday, and chances are he’ll be in line to win a big league job. Vasquez does have a minor league option remaining, so there is some room for creativity, but I was a bit surprised that they gave him a big league deal and I think that bodes well for the new Blue Jays’ southpaw.

As for Borucki, he likely faces as uphill battle to win that job with the second left-hander now joining the fold. Most teams like to carry at least two southpaws, and along with Tim Mayza the Jays might be set without Borucki. On the right-hander side they have plenty of talent with the aforementioned group of Cimber, Richards, Garcia, Phelps, and Biagini, and that’s not to mention the closer in Jordan Romano, as well as potential options like Julian Merryweather, Ross Stripling, Nate Pearson, and more.

If the Blue Jays are pretty sold on Vasquez, they could always try to trade Borucki before they have to expose him to the waiver wire. I’m not sure that his value would reflect anything close to his potential, but it might be a case of something is better than nothing. I’d be surprised to see that happen soon, as I’m sure the Jays would like to get to camp to see what they’ve got, and who is all going to be healthy and ready for Opening Day, but it wouldn’t surprise me to see Borucki dealt before April 7th.

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With such a talented roster, it’s probably a waste of energy to worry about losing a depth player like Borucki at this point, but count me among those that believe he’ll put it together at some point. In my mind he’s too talented not to as long as he can stay reasonably healthy, and here’s hoping he can find that groove before the Blue Jays have to make a decision.