The argument for and against making Yimi Garcia the Blue Jays' new closer

Garcia has been the star of an underperforming bullpen but could he take on a new role?
Seattle Mariners v Toronto Blue Jays
Seattle Mariners v Toronto Blue Jays / Mark Blinch/GettyImages

Yimi Garcia's had a phenomenal start to the 2024 season, posting a 0.53 ERA in 17 innings and an impeccable WHIP 0.59. He has flourished in high-leverage situations and as the closer whilst Jordan Romano was on the IL earlier in the season. Some people argue that due to Romano's inconsistencies in the 9th inning that he should be replaced by Garcia, on the other hand, some would like the Markham, Ontario native to stay. Despite this, would the Blue Jays consider giving Garcia a new role?

Two-time All-Star Jordan Romano is a solid closer, however, since returning from the injured list in mid-April, he has a 1-1 record with a 5.06 ERA , 6 saves and a 1.41 WHIP.

According to Baseball Savant, he's been hit on both his slider and his fastball with an opponent average of .261 on his slider and .286 on his fastball which are significant increases from 2023. As a result of this, his velocity has dipped. On the other hand, Garcia, who throws six pitches to Romano's two, has limited his hard-hit rate particularly on his fastball where he's held opponents to a .050 batting average, one of the most effective pitches in baseball.

He's been extremely effective against both RH and LH hitters with an unblemished ERA compared to Romano's 2.14 ERA and a 1.73 ERA compared to Romano's 6.75. He's been one of the best pitchers with it comes to runners on base, unblemished ERA, (with bases loaded), compared to Romano's 10.98. He went 2/2 in save opportunities in Romano's absence, therefore with his excellent command and his ability to strand baserunners, maybe the Blue Jays should make Garcia their new closer?

Jordan Romano ranks 4th in MLB in saves since 2021 and he's one of best closers in franchise history, with 103 saves to his name, a 90% save percentage. a career WHIP of 1.14 and 281 strikeouts. Since becoming the full-time closer in 2020, he's held lefties and righties to low batting averages (.204 BA vs righties and .164 BA vs lefties). The one thing he's struggled slightly with has been his ability to pitch with runners on base, nonetheless he still has a respectable ERA of 2.92. Even though 2024 hasn't gone the way Romano expected so far, with his poor command and his struggles pitching against LHH, (.280 BA), he's still a reliable, trustworthy closer. Pitching in a save situation may be less stressful but why would the Jays move Garcia when he's been thriving in high-leverage situations?

Overall, Yimi Garcia and Jordan Romano are two of the best relievers in the Blue Jays bullpen. Indeed, Garcia has had a significantly better start to the season than Romano has, yet the latter is projected to hit 30 saves for the fourth-straight season. Also, he has a great opportunity to move up leaderboard for most saves in franchise history. For that reason, even though it may be tempting for the Jays, Garcia should continue to pitch where he has excelled.