Toronto Blue Jays set-up man Yimi Garcia has been the best free-agent signing from this past 2022 off-season for the organization.
I know what you are thinking, it’s Kevin Gausman hands down. Well, if that is the case you can go ahead and enlighten me about how many one-run games Kevin Gausman has held onto for the Toronto Blue Jays. Don’t get me wrong, Gausman has been good. His numbers for the 2022 season reveal that so far that the signing has worked out for the Blue Jays and for the right-hander.
However, as many of you know the bridge to All-Star closer Jordan Romano has been a little shaky at times. Those relievers that appear in the 7th and 8th inning are so vital to the success of any baseball club in 2022 if they not only want to make the playoffs, but to go deep in the postseason. Yimi Garcia came to the Toronto Blue Jays from three teams that all made the playoffs. Garcia pitched for the Los Angeles Dodgers in the playoffs in 2015. He was part of the Miami Marlins when they made the playoffs in 2020. He was a part of the monster run the Houston Astros had last season appearing in four World Series games against Atlanta without allowing a run.
Garcia would get rewarded for his successful 2021 season like a lot of pitchers in 2021 did, by signing a two-year, 11 million dollar contract with the Blue Jays with an option to return in 2024. Ross Atkins and company planned for Garcia to be a late-inning reliever for the upcoming season to help out Tim Mayza as the bridge to Romano.
Garcia has done a great job of coming out of the bullpen and throwing strikes. His WHIP of 0.96 backs that up, he also has done a great job of locating his fastball and using his secondary pitches to generate outs. His strikeouts per nine innings are 8.2 so he is locating to his pitches to generate weak contact, and at times he is raring back and striking hitters when he needs to generate a whiff.
Garcia is currently tied for 8th in holds in the American League with 20. The Blue Jays have 79 holds as a club, which is one above the league average of 78. So, this begs the question: Where would the Blue Jays be without the signing of Yimi Garcia? Who could the Blue Jays have leaned on to try and duplicate what he has given the club?
Nate Pearson could be that guy, but he won’t be in 2022. Julian Merryweather has the stuff to be a solid big league pitcher, but unfortunately it feels like he can’t be trusted with a lead of four runs or less. We’ve seen 2021 Tim Mayza at times in 2022, and at times we’ve seen 2019 Tim Mayza. Adam Cimber is leading baseball in appearances, but it feels like Cimber may be running out of gas since he has been missing his spots lately. Trevor Richards is bouncing back from a tough 2022 campaign, and the Blue Jays have experimented with Richards in different spots since he has come back from his IL stint.
He’s no Duane Ward, but Yimi Garcia may be one of the best set-up men the Blue Jays have had in recent years. That is why he is the best signing from the past off-season for the Toronto Blue Jays.