With beloved ex-Blue Jays reliever available, is a reunion worth exploring?

Could the return of the Blue Jays fan favourite be the exact boost that their bullpen sorely needs?
Chicago White Sox v Minnesota Twins
Chicago White Sox v Minnesota Twins / Matt Krohn/GettyImages

For what had been one of the team’s strengths in 2023, the Toronto Blue Jays bullpen had been scuffling since the start of the 2024 season. Ranking near the bottom of the entire league in ERA, WHIP and opponents batting average, they have been giving opposing teams way too many opportunities to come back in games or allowing them to put away games for good. With the Jays needing all the help that they can get at this moment for their relief corps, an intriguing option just became available on the open market. That'd be none other than former fan favourite Jay Jackson.

It seemed to have happened a long time ago, but it was just last year when the 36-year-old journeyman put together his best ever season in MLB with the Jays. Appearing in 25 total games over the course of 2023, Jackson compiled an impressive 3-1 record with a 2.12 ERA, 0.91 WHIP, giving up just 7 earned runs, 9 walks, and fanning 27 batters in 29.2 innings pitched. Considering he yielded runs in just four of those outings, he was as productive as one could have expected him to be.

Nevertheless, Jackson was surprisingly designated for assignment just prior to the playoffs despite his solid performance, which likely left a little sour taste in his mouth as a result. During the 2023-24 offseason, with a potential return not appearing in the cards, he signed on with the Minnesota Twins in free agency as they rewarded him with a one-year deal worth $1.5M.

However, it has been a completely different story for Jackson so far in 2024. Despite making the Twins’ Opening Day roster, he has been unable to find the same consistency that he displayed all of last season with Jays. In 17 appearances, Jackson registered a less-than-stellar 6.85 ERA and 1.39 WHIP, giving up a whopping 17 earned runs in just 22.1 innings of work. In fact, he had surrendered runs in more than half of his outings, including multiple runs on five occasions. As a result, the Twins recently designated Jackson for assignment this past Sunday.

With that in mind, should the Jays explore the possibility of a reunion with one of their most consistent and reliable arms from 2023? 

Taking a look at the present state of the team’s bullpen, Yimi García and Trevor Richards are the only two relievers that are currently active to have an ERA below 4.00. So perhaps by bringing Jackson back to the environment in which he was most comfortable with and breeded the most success could do wonders for both himself and the current middling Jays team. In addition, Jackson did sport a BABIP of .311 with the Twins, so a bit of bad luck might have had something to do with his struggling numbers in Minnesota. Moreover, he truly deserves another shot with the club after how the Jays mishandled his situation at the conclusion of last season.

Nevertheless, the Jays should be desperate for any kind of help that they can get to boost their bullpen. All else fails, if it doesn’t pan out, they can always move on to their next option. But there’s a good chance we would see a highly-motivated Jackson that would do everything he could to perform at his absolute best if the reunion comes to fruition. So let’s make it happen Jays!