Sign a bullpen arm to re-establish their core
One of the Jays’ strengths from last season was the solid bullpen core that slowly took shape over the course of the year. The Jays ranked eighth in the entire league with a 3.68 ERA and a solid fifth with a 1.23 WHIP. The additions of Génesis Cabrera and Jordan Hicks really helped round out the relief corps down the stretch as they provided the much-needed shutdown innings to bridge to closer Jordan Romano.
However, with the departure of Hicks to free agency (and Adam Cimber to a lesser extent), along with the lack of quality relief arms in the Jays’ minor league system heading into 2024, it may be wise for the team to add an arm or two as insurance in the event the bullpen is hit with some injuries or unexpected struggles.
Among those that were available earlier in the week, Héctor Neris would have the ideal replacement for Hicks’ previous role on the team as he can perform effectively both as a setup man and closer. But Neris was just picked up by the Chicago Cubs recently on a friendly one-year deal worth $9M, eliminating that prime option.
Therefore, the Jays should turn their attention to another solid candidate in 32-year-old Ryne Stanek. Stanek had been one of the mainstays of the Houston Astros’ bullpen for the past three seasons. Although he struggled at times last year by posting an ERA close to 4, it was just two seasons ago when he recorded his best ERA of his career of 1.15 over 59 appearances. Being part of the perennial contending environment of the Astros means he knows what it takes to be a winner, especially given his postseason numbers of a 2.70 ERA and 0.75 WHIP with 21 strikeouts in 20 innings of work. As a result, he would make a great addition to the Jays’ ballclub who have playoff aspirations in their minds again this season.