3 Blue Jays players in need of a bounceback season

David Corcoran
Toronto Blue Jays v Tampa Bay Rays
Toronto Blue Jays v Tampa Bay Rays / Julio Aguilar/GettyImages
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The Blue Jays have yet to dip into the free agent market and while I have no doubt they will make a splash, an important aspect for the club's success in 2023 is that a few key players need to have bounce back years.  Here is a look at some key players that need to have better campaigns next season and whether or not I think they are capable of doing so.

José Berríos

The Blue Jays moved two of their top prospects at the 2021 Trade Deadline to acquire soon-to-be free agent José Berríos from the Minnesota Twins.  Berríos was known as one of the most durable starters in baseball as he had never required any time on the injured list during his nearly five year big league career.  Since being recalled to the Twins in May 2017 in his sophomore season up until the end of the 2021 year, Berríos made 133 starts, posting a 57-40 record with a 3.74 ERA, while never missing his turn in the rotation. 

Berríos' consistency earned him a seven-year contract extension from the Blue Jays that included a player option in the middle of the deal.  As per Baseball-Reference the first five years of the contract pays him just over $81.5 Million and gives him an option to opt out of the contract, however the player option in the final two seasons would have him earn just under $50 Million with an additional $10 Million in performance bonuses.

The 2022 campaign was the Puerto Rican-born pitchers worst year since his rookie campaign.  His earned run average was 1.49 runs higher than the previous five seasons, while his WHIP jumped almost a quarter of a runner per inning over the same time frame.  He had five different starts where he failed to get through four innings and allowed at least six runs on six difference occasions. 

One of the positives with Berríos was that he had a Jekyll and Hyde season last year. While he was really bad in some starts, he was utterly dominant in others.  Berríos gave quality starts in 53% of his appearances, which ranked 34th in all of baseball and had nine starts where he pitched into the sixth inning, while allowing one or less runs.  In total, Berríos finished with a winning record (12-7) which did give him a higher winning percentage than his career average.

I have no doubt that Berríos is going to bounce back in 2023 and if they had the chance to sign him to the same contract he signed a prior I would do it.

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