For all of the talk about the Blue Jays needing to get Jordan Romano some help for the late innings, Yimi Garcia’s performance is flying under the radar.
Part of the reason for that was an injury that landed him on the IL for a while, but I’ll be the first to admit that I haven’t always given him full credit for the job he’s done as a Blue Jay. After another strong outing where he picked up five outs again the Tigers on Saturday, Garcia’s ERA is down to 2.55 and his WHIP is a very impressive 0.85. He’s also picked up 35 strikeouts against just eight walks over his 35.1 innings of work.
Realistically, the Blue Jays should be thrilled with what they’ve received from the 31 year old, and pretty pleased that they have him locked up for another season after this one. He’s been an important piece of the bullpen this year, and it’s clear that if this team is going to make some noise in the playoffs that he’s going to have an important role to play.
The biggest criticism about the Blue Jays bullpen is the lack of swing and miss relievers, and it’s a fair one for the most part. However, I’ve often heard and likely even said myself that the Jays need to “add another late-inning strikeout arm to give Romano some help”, and I’m not sure it’s fair to view the closer as having performed any better than Garcia. For the sake of comparison, check out how the two line up on a traditional stat basis:
Romano: 37.2 IP, 2.39 ERA, 1.09 WHIP, 41 K, 14 walks, .177 average
Garcia: 35.1 IP, 2.55 ERA, 0.85 WHIP, 35 K, 8 walks, .199 average
Don’t get me wrong, both look pretty impressive on paper, but it’s a bit confusing why Romano gets so much more credit, even if he’s the one with 23 saves so far. Again, part of that might be his consistent presence on the active roster, but just as importantly, I think we need to start recognizing just how good Garcia has been.
Having said all that, the Blue Jays would be much better off if they could push one or even both of Romano and Garcia down the depth chart, and hopefully Ross Atkins is able to find a a couple of impact arms to raise the floor of the group.
It’s been a disappointing year for the Blue Jays bullpen overall, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t some talented already on the roster. With a little help and a few pitchers reaching their potential, there’s still a chance this could be a very good bullpen when it matters most.