At least one more weapon in the bullpen
The Blue Jays have had more one-run games than any team in baseball so far in 2022, and for the most part their bullpen has done a nice job in these tight contests. That said, they’ve been heavily relied on so far, and the intensity is only going to rise as the season goes on.
Simply put, the Blue Jays would be very wise to find another closer/late-inning type of reliever, and ideally someone with big strikeout stuff.
They have a group of reliable relievers led by Jordan Romano, who fits the description of the type of arm the Blue Jays could really use to reinforce their bullpen. Beyond Romano they’ve really missed Tim Mayza, who is due to come back sooner than later, have utilized Yimi Garcia in their late-innings a fair bit, and instead have had to rely more heavily on guys like Adam Cimber, Trevor Richards, and David Phelps. All three are capable and valuable relievers, but they’re don’t really fit the “stopper” definition of what’s really missing here.
The target I like for the Blue Jays? How about Pittsburgh’s David Bednar. The 27 year old has been very good for the Pirates so far this season, picking up nine saves while posting a 1.38 ERA and a 0.808 WHIP while striking out 35 across 26 innings. He was also included in a recent article from our own Tyson Shushkewich, and I have to admit that I’m on the same page here.
Bednar wouldn’t come cheap, and the Blue Jays might prefer to look for a more cost effective solution. I mostly say that because he’s an effective reliever that would come with at least four more seasons of contract control, and he’s still just 27 years old. His salary will escalate over time, but this year he’s making just $715,000. If the Pirates decide to make him available there will be plenty of suitors, but the Blue Jays should be motivated to be at least near the front of the pack in the bidding.
At 30-21 there is a lot to like about the Blue Jays so far in 2022, and there are plenty of reasons to believe that the best is yet to come even if they don’t add any other players to the roster. That said, the longer this season goes on the more it’s obvious that there’s some special potential here, but that this group could use another piece or three. It’s early and I imagine it’ll be another month before the Blue Jays make any significant moves, but it’s never too soon to start monitoring the market.