Blue Jays Milestone Watch: Which pitchers are closing in on career milestones?
While winning it all is always the ultimate goal, you'd be hard-pressed to find a baseball player who didn't care at all about career milestones, and in 2023 there are quite a few Blue Jays pitchers who could reach some of those. Here's a quick look at those arms, and what milestones they could reach this upcoming season.
Kevin Gausman is entering his 11th season in the Majors, and as a player with that long of a career often is, he'll look to hit a couple of milestones this season. He's just 144 strikeouts away from 1500 on his career, which barring injury, should be easy work, as he's struck out over 200 batters in each of the last two seasons. Since 2000, just 68 pitchers have hit this mark, with former Blue Jay Robbie Ray being the most recent to do so. Gausman is also set to hit 1500 innings, a much less exclusive group, but an impressive one nonetheless.
Another veteran pitcher who could reach some milestones is free agent signing Chris Bassitt, who's 63 innings and 129 strikeouts away from 800 in both categories, which he should easily accomplish if he continues on his career pace.
Yusei Kikuchi should be a lock to reach 500 career innings this season, only needing 44 more to do so, but he's also 150 strikeouts away from 600 on his career, which would make him the eighth Japanese-born pitcher in MLB history to do so.
With 308.1 career innings pitched, and 307 career strikeouts, Alek Manoah has a shot to reach 500 in both categories with another strong season. Despite only having two seasons under his belt, Manoah already leads all current Blue Jays in those categories and has a chance to get his name among some of the greatest arms in franchise history.
Closer Jordan Romano had 36 saves last season, and with 39 more in 2023, he would reach 100 on his career. He would become the fourth Canadian-born pitcher to do so, and it would give him the fourth most in Blue Jays' history. He's also 50 strikeouts away from the quarter-century mark, something that only 13 Jays relievers have accomplished.
Finally, some other relievers; Yimi García reached both 300 appearances and strikeouts last season, and is only 7 innings away from reaching 300 innings, a milestone that Adam Cimber should also achieve.
Anthony Bass is only three strikeouts away from 400 after just surpassing 500 innings in 2022.
Chad Green, who should return from injury in the second half of the season, is flipping those stats, as he should be on pace to reach both 400 innings and 500 strikeouts.