Blue Jays 2024 Season Preview: Relief pitchers

How will the Jays bullpen be projected to fare in 2024?

Jun 12, 2022; Detroit, Michigan, USA;  Toronto Blue Jays pitchers walk to the bullpen
Jun 12, 2022; Detroit, Michigan, USA; Toronto Blue Jays pitchers walk to the bullpen / Rick Osentoski-USA TODAY Sports
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Yimi García

For a consistent, reliable veteran reliever like Yimi García, he actually had an uncharacteristic shaky season in 2023. After posting strong numbers across the board for the Jays in 2022, García stumbled out of the gate last year by posting two losses, two blown saves, to go along with a horrendous 6.20 ERA and 1.54 WHIP over 26 games in April and May. He managed to gather himself and turn his year around beginning in June, while providing his marquee steadiness and dependability the rest of the way, outside of a rough stretch at the beginning of September. In the end, García salvaged his season with a 4.09 ERA, 1.24 WHIP, with 79 strikeouts in 66 innings pitched with a team-high 73 total outings.

Steamer projections has a strong outlook for García in 2024, as he is expected to regain his prior form with his ERA falling back down to a respectable 3.72. In addition, his LOB% will go back up from 69% to 74%, while his total holds will just fall slightly from 19 to 16 in total. One troubling stat though will be his walk rate, as it projects to increase drastically from 2.05 to 2.71 per nine innings. Nevertheless, the Jays will need an effective García to provide the much-needed balance of arms in their bullpen for the upcoming season. Entering his final year of his three-year contract with the team, he will certainly do all he can to help the club, along with maximizing his potential value entering free agency following the end of the season.

Chad Green

After being out for the majority of the 2023 season recovering from Tommy John surgery, Chad Green made his official comeback in August with the Jays during their playoff run. His final stats of a 5.25 ERA and 1.33 WHIP did not reflect the solid job that he actually did for the team, as his numbers were severely inflated due to a couple of meaningless outings in a blowout game. If removing those two outings, Green had 3 wins and a pair of holds while giving up only 3 earned runs with 15 strikeouts in 10.1 innings of work in 10 solid appearances.

The Jays totally believe in his abilities, given his impressive track record during his time with the New York Yankees. As a result, he will become an integral part of the relief corps going forward as they exercised a two-year, $21M option on Green this offseason to retain the reliable veteran through 2025. Even ZiPS has him bouncing back with a huge 2024 with his ERA coming back down to 3.53, which is more in line with his career average. In addition, he will become an important bridge to both Swanson and Romano as he is projected to have 12 holds, along with an increase in WAR from 0.3 to 0.6. Together, they will inadvertently become the team’s “three-headed monster” for their back end of the bullpen hopefully for the upcoming season and beyond.