Toronto Blue Jays News

Blue Jays: Merryweather and White are out of MiLB options next year

TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 16: Julian Merryweather #67 of the Toronto Blue Jays delivers a pitch in the second inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Rogers Centre on September 16, 2022 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images)
TORONTO, ON - SEPTEMBER 16: Julian Merryweather #67 of the Toronto Blue Jays delivers a pitch in the second inning against the Baltimore Orioles at Rogers Centre on September 16, 2022 in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. (Photo by Vaughn Ridley/Getty Images) /
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While the Blue Jays 2022 season is already in the books after an early playoff exit, it’s time to look towards the 2023 campaign and what the organization needs to do to improve upon how they finished this past year. They barely missed the playoffs in 2021, they were ousted in the AL Wild Card this season, and next year will see some marquee players potentially heading to free agency as well as a closing window on a young core poised to compete for the World Series that aren’t signed to long-term extensions (yet at least).

That being said, one area the Blue Jays will likely need to improve upon is the bullpen, as the club’s relief corps struggled in the second Wild Card game but did alright during the regular season, finishing 13th in terms of ERA with a collective 3.77 mark. This didn’t transition to the playoffs, however, as they pitched to an 8.10 ERA through 6.2 innings, allowing 11 hits and six earned runs, ranking last amongst playoff teams.

Looking ahead, the Jays will see a lot of familiar faces return to the bullpen as only David Phelps is heading to free agency. This means the core of Jordan Romano, Tim Mayza, Adam Cimber, Trevor Richards, Zach Pop, Anthony Bass, and Yimi Garcia are all slated to return. With so many pitchers scheduled to return, this doesn’t leave a lot of wiggle room for improvement, factoring in the Jays’ payroll situation as being quite tight given the current contracts, a possible Ross Stripling return, and other areas on the roster needing to be shored up as well.

Blue Jays pitchers Julian Merryweather and Mitch White are out of MiLB options next season

Heading into the 2023 campaign, two pitchers will also be on the hot seat to make the Opening Day roster, as both Julian Merryweather and Mitch White are out of Minor League options (as per FanGraphs). This means that if they do not make the active roster out of Spring Training, the Blue Jays will have to outright them to the Minors and expose them to the waiver wire.

Merryweather has struggled to find a footing at the big league level, whether it be due to injury or inconsistency on the mound. The right-hander can hit the upper 90s with his fastball and early into the 2021 campaign looked to be one of the relievers the Blue Jays could depend on before an injury sidelined him for most of the season. Fast forward to this year, and the California product found himself on the 60-day IL again with an abdominal strain. When he was with the big league club, the results varied, as he finished with a 6.75 ERA on the year through 26.2 innings.

The Blue Jays acquired White at the trade deadline, attempting to find a Stripling 2.0 in the right-hander and using him in both the rotation and bullpen down the stretch. With Yusei Kikuchi moved to a relief role in mid-August, White took his spot and did alright in the Jays rotation to start, allowing just five earned runs through 13.1 innings to the tune of a 3.38 ERA through his first three starts. His remaining seven outings were not so strong though, as the California product struggled to keep the runs off the board and amassed a 9.71 ERA and 32 earned runs to finish out the year.

Depending on what the Blue Jays’ front office does this offseason, White could be fighting for a spot in the rotation or potentially as the long-man in the bullpen, mostly counting on whether Stripling returns as well as whether the Jays pick up another starter or two in free agency or via trade. Merryweather is likely looking for a spot in the back end of the bullpen but will need to find that early 2021 form, especially if Ross Atkins and co. goes out and acquires some dependable relief arms this offseason.

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Failure to make an impact this spring for either player could push them outside the roster picture and potentially out of the Blue Jays organization altogether. Both pitchers are under team control for years but need to secure a roster spot if they want to stick around.

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