Blue Jays: Ranking the AL East bullpens heading into the season

Boston Red Sox v Toronto Blue Jays
Boston Red Sox v Toronto Blue Jays / Mark Blinch/GettyImages
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#2 Toronto Blue Jays

Projected Bullpen:

RHP Yimi García
RHP Anthony Bass
LHP Tim Mayza
RHP Adam Cimber
RHP Trevor Richards
RHP Mitch White
RHP Jordan Romano
RHP Erik Swanson

Injured List:

RHP Chad Green

The Blue Jays bullpen will consist of mostly returning members, although a big piece of this group will be a new acquisition. Erik Swanson’s major league career was off to a rocky start as he struggled through his first three seasons, though he was among the best relief pitchers in the entire league a season ago with the Mariners.

Jordan Romano has grown into one of the most reliable closing pitchers, and was outstanding last season. Notching 36 saves and a 2.11 ERA, Romano is an elite arm who will be tasked with finishing games for the Jays again.

Anthony Bass was also among the league’s best relievers last season with both the Marlins and Blue Jays, combining for a sparkling 1.75 ERA.

Yimi García was very solid in his first season with the club, as his 3.10 ERA was a career best across an entire season.

Adam Cimber has been fantastic since joining the Jays in 2021, as he tied for the most pitching appearances (77) with the Guardians’ closer, Emmanuel Clase.

Tim Mayza, the lone lefty in the bullpen, has also shown improvements in limiting walks allowed over the last two seasons, although the strikeout numbers have decreased.

Trevor Richards and Mitch White both struggled last season, and are the only unreliable pitchers amongst this group. White made eight starts and two appearances out of the bullpen, though showed uninspiring stuff and remains undependable.

Chad Green, the long-time Yankee setup man signed a two-year deal with the team, though is still recovering from Tommy John surgery. Upon his return, this bullpen has a chance to become the best in the division, though the seamlessness and fluidity of the Rays bullpen give them the edge.

#1 Tampa Bay Rays

Projected Bullpen:

RHP Pete Fairbanks
RHP Jason Adam
LHP Jalen Beeks
RHP Shawn Armstrong
LHP Garrett Cleavinger
RHP Ryan Thompson
RHP Kevin Kelly
LHP Colin Poche

Injured List:

RHP Andrew Kittredge

The Rays bullpen is going to look very much like their 2022 group. Aside from Kevin Kelly, who has yet to make his major league debut, the entire staff will return. Jason Adam was the leader of the bullpen last year as he notched eight saves to go with his 1.56 ERA.

Pete Fairbanks was limited to just 24 innings, though he only allowed three earned runs, while also grabbing 8 saves of his own.

Left-handers Jalen Beeks and Garrett Cleavinger both impressed with sub-3 ERA’s and K/9 rates north of 10.

Shawn Armstrong and Ryan Thompson each had similar seasons with 3.60 and 3.80 ERA’s respectively. Both showed good strikeout stuff and limited walks as well.

Colin Poche made his major league comeback after a three year absence, and showed slight improvements in 2022. He is set to take on the long relief role for the upcoming season.

Kevin Kelly was selected by the Rockies in the 2022 Rule 5 Draft, then was immediately traded to the Rays for cash considerations. Kelly has looked good so far though 130.2 minor league innings with a 3.17 ERA across all levels of the minor leagues.

Former closer, Andrew Kittredge is also recovering from Tommy John surgery too. Overall, this bullpen is still rather unproven aside from strong 2022 seasons, though the Rays have been able to throw anyone on the mound and have them succeed recently. This is the best bullpen in the AL East, due to the fact that the majority of their staff has closing experience and have integrated guys seamlessly. Though, predicting how Kevin Cash uses his bullpen is impossible.

Next. World Baseball Classic rosters announced. Any Blue Jays?. dark