Adding Trevor Richards back to the Blue Jays bullpen is crucial to continued success

Trevor Richards is having a career year in Toronto, and the sooner he recovers from neck inflammation, the better for the Blue Jays bullpen and the team in general.
Toronto Blue Jays v Chicago White Sox - Game One
Toronto Blue Jays v Chicago White Sox - Game One / Jamie Sabau/GettyImages

When it comes to bullpens, the Blue Jays have one of the best in the Majors. They rank sixth in ERA, tied-fifth in WHIP, tied-seventh in batting average, second-lowest in walks and third in saves.

However, as we've written recently, the bullpen is capable of even better. Consider that the Blue Jays are also currently without injured duo Jordan Romano and Chad Green.

Along these lines, the Blue Jays similarly need Trevor Richards back off the injured list as soon as possible. He is undoubtedly crucial to the bullpen's success and by extension, the team as a whole.

Badly-timed injury

Richards has been on the 15-day injured list since earlier this month, due to neck inflammation. This type of issue traditionally takes at least three weeks to recover from.

Obviously an injury at any point of a season is badly-timed. In the case of the 30-year-old though there is particular frustration, given he is having a career year in Toronto.

Consider that Richards is currently on course to set single-season career-bests in several categories. These include ERA (2.98), strikeout rate (36.9%) and FIP (3.74).

Originally a starter when he was with the Marlins in Miami, the righty started tapping into his true potential after he made the transition to reliever. In this respect, he's developed into one of the Blue Jays' best and most reliable bullpen options during his time in Toronto.

Not always smooth sailing

It wasn't always like that however. After looking good in 2021 following his trade from the Brewers, Richards struggled mightily during his second year in Toronto, highlighted by a 5.34 ERA and 1.438 WHIP.

In fairness to the Aviston, Illinois native, his 2022 campaign wasn't helped by a neck strain, which sent him to the injured list during June. Regardless, things were looking bad when he continued to struggle early on this year.

Since then however, Richards has tuned a corner and is now pitching as well as ever. As a bonus, he can still log the occasional start when required, albeit more in the role as opener.

When it's all said and done, Richards is the consummate teammate, prepared to do whatever is asked of him. He's a key reliever and whenever he does return (along with Romano and Green), the Blue Jays bullpen will become even more of a force to be reckoned with.

NB - All statistics up to and including August 10.