Blue Jays Bullpen Reinforcements Coming Soon-ish

With the Toronto Blue Jays bullpen a disappointment to start the season, perhaps it is good news that they’ll be getting reinforcements.

 

 

So, the Toronto Blue Jays bullpen has been so disappointing that it almost feels redundant writing about their struggles. What more can be said? What other Hot Takes can be added to the dumpster fire? There can only be so many ways of writing about how bad most of the relievers have been. By now, everyone knows they’ve disappointed. Well, what follows is an attempt at offering a ray of light, small as it may be.

Before we do, here’s a little mood music:

According to MLB, the Blue Jays bullpen is tied for 5th with 15 SV opportunities, yet they have only 9 saves. Roberto Osuna has 7 of them. Now, not converting 6 saves is not exactly the end of the world. Yes, it would alter their record dramatically if they could have converted those 6 saves. But, it’s early, right Mike? Besides, it isn’t so bad when you consider the real ugly stuff: In the 7th inning or later, the club has a 4.52 ERA, which is good (?) for 24th in MLB. They’ve given up 49 runs, which is 6th most. Oh, and they’ve also tossed up 14 HR, 5th most. When the game is on the line late and it’s close, the club has 23 ER (3rd most) and 5.09 ERA.

This group needs some help. That is clear. Some of that help will (hopefully) come from guys returning to their norms. For example, Brett Cecil will likely fall into something closer to his second half of 2015 than what we saw in April. It is possible that Drew Storen will find his previous form, though there is nothing that indicates he will at the moment. But, we have to expect that the bullpen, which is a traditionally volatile component of a team, will not live up to the disappointment we’ve seen already.

But, if they do, some are calling for the Blue Jays to look outside the organization. Trade for everyone! Well, it isn’t that simple. Do we really think that clubs will be willing to part with the kind of pieces that stabilize a bullpen in the middle of May? Likely not. I suppose it is possible. Not likely, though.

That leaves the organization looking inward to turn things around. Chad Girodo is an interesting option. Ryan Tepera seems to enjoy some Gibby Love. We probably still could stand to see more of Pat Venditte. The Buffalo Bisons have a few names that could be called upon to fill spots. But, they’re in Buffalo for a reason. These are not the kind of arms that will come up and instantly turn things around.

But, within the organization, there are a couple of reinforcements coming that could have an impact. According to MLB Injury Report page, the Blue Jays are expecting Aaron Loup and Franklin Morales to return from injury by the end of May. Well, the exact wording is “Possible late May” under “Due Back”. That could very well be good news for the bullpen.

We could also include Bo Schultz as a reinforcement. He’s set or a late May return from offseason hip surgery. On May 4, he was transfered to AA as part of his rehab assignment. He might actually be the closest to returning. Schultzy got into 43 innings last season, left 75.3% on base and an opponent’s average of .203. He’s thrown just over 4 innings in 2016 and looks to have very nice strikeout numbers thus far.Of course, that is in A+ and AA. It is encouraging, though. An area of concern is that he’s issued 5 free passes in that small sample. Schultz might not be the arm that even Loup of Morales are, but his addition would add depth, even if it is waiting at AAA.

Morales originally went on the DL with left shoulder fatigue, which doesn’t sound too serious, but we haven’t seen him in a game since April 6. According to MLB, he was long tossing as of April 27. If the shoulder fatigue is not something more serious, and he can come back and contribute, it would be a welcome left handed option for John Gibbons. In 2015, Morales threw 62.1 innings with 41 strike outs, 14 walks and an opponents average of .246. He left 74% on base with 12 shutdowns to his credit.

We are more familiar with Loup, who is on the DL with a strained tendon in his throwing elbow, which he’s been dealing with since Spring Training. According to MLB, he was “throwing bullpen sessions with no timetable for Minor League rehab assignment as of May 9”. This is more good news.

Despite how many may feel about Loup over the last couple of seasons, one need only ask oneself if one would really say “No” to adding him to this bullpen as it is right now. Of course, he would be a welcome addition. He would be another lefty out of the ‘pen (can you really have too many?), even if it is as a LOOGY. Loup’s 42 innings of nearly 25% K rate, xFIP of 2.89 and 70% LOB are not eye popping by any means, but they are certainly welcome.

Say what you want about these two arms, or the third in Schultz. They aren’t the sexiest of additions. They aren’t the mid-season blockbuster additions that you might be pining for. But, in May, those just aren’t coming. Right now, these are the kind of additions we have to look forward to. As of right now, adding them will be better than what is currently in place. The scary part is that what is currently in place has to do until the end of May.

 

 

 

 

*Featured Image Credit: Joel Dinda UNDER CC BY-SA 2.0

 

 

 

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Shaun Doyle

Shaun Doyle is a long time Blue Jays fan and writer! He decided to put those things together and create Jays From the Couch. Shaun is the host of Jays From the Couch Radio, which is highly ranked in iTunes, and he has appeared on TV and radio spots.