Two free agent starting pitchers the Blue Jays could target as minor league depth
Last Friday night, the Toronto Blue Jays got a scare when not one but two comebackers came back and hit the legs of starting pitcher José Berríos.
The first one glanced off the side of his foot and didn’t seem to do much damage, but the second one hit the back of Berríos’ knee and caused him to leave the game with a contusion.
Although reports soon came out that the bruising wouldn’t cause him to miss the next start, it must’ve caused fans to wonder about the depth of the starting pitching at the minor-league level.
Potential free agent depth moves the Blue Jays could make
The Jays should be thankful the close call didn’t necessitate having to make a call-up from the minors, because none of the options there are particularly enticing.
It would have likely been a coin flip between Casey Lawrence and Drew Hutchison, which is not likely to excite any followers of the Blue Jays. The front office would be wise to take advantage of this near-miss and bring in a veteran arm that would be more effective if pressed into action.
To that end, the team could do worse than signing former Tampa Bay Rays ace Chris Archer. He’s currently a free agent, and while he isn’t the same guy who was a two-time All-Star, he still seems capable of being a mid-four ERA pitcher if he can command his stuff.
Last year, pitching for the Minnesota Twins, Archer went 2-8 with a 4.56 ERA and a 1.31 WHIP.
Another option as a depth piece could be Michael Pineda. Casual fans might remember him as the pitcher who, foolishly and brazenly, had a foreign substance on his neck which caused him to be ejected while with the Yankees in 2014.
Beyond that, Pineda has had some good years in the majors recently. He was 9-8 with a 3.62 ERA in 21 starts with the Tigers in 2021 before crashing down to earth with a 2-7, 5.79-mark last year.
When he’s on, Pineda can generate soft contact and doesn’t typically walk a lot of batters.
Neither of these pitchers would generate a ton of fanfare or buzz in the baseball world, but both could fill in if any of the starters go on the injured list.