The Toronto Blue Jays bullpen have already seen relievers Brett Cecil and Joaquin Benoit leave this offseason, leaving a hole in the bullpen. With Jason Grilli, Joe Biagini, and Roberto Osuna as the main three under contract for next season, general manager Ross Atkins has work to do to find some relievers.
Travis Wood, LHP
The former starter was a nice addition to the Chicago Cubs bullpen last season as a left-hander coming out of the ‘pen. For the Cubs, he pitched in 61 innings, with a 2.95 ERA and a perfect 4-0 record. This was arguably Wood’s best season in the majors and came as a reliever.
Wood would take over Cecil’s role that is left open due to his departure to St.Louis. Wood, with his starting ability, could work either as a long reliever or a setup man. Wood last season made the league minimum, but his salary is definitely going to be a lot more on the open market, possibly a two- or three-year deal in the $4-5 million per year range. That is something the Jays should take a long look at.
Neftali Feliz, RHP
The once-dominant closer for the Texas Rangers had a severe drop off but is close to looking like his old form. After a terrible 2015 season, Feliz signed with the Pirates and had a okay season, as he had a 3.52 ERA while pitching 53.2 innings.
Feliz would figure to be a much cheaper option at around $2 million a year on a one-year deal due to his inconsistency. If Feliz has a good season, or even a season like last year, he could provide the Blue Jays much-needed depth in the middle relief role, which was a problem last season.
Ryan Buchter, LHP, San Diego
The minor-league signing last season had a good season with the Padres. Buchter is also under team control for a couple more seasons and a rather cheap salary is something the Jays would have to love. Buchter played in 67 games, pitching 63 innings and having a 2.86 ERA.
Buchter’s trade value is hard to determine, as that was his first year in the majors and some may say it was lucky or a fluke, while the Padres may try to sell high on Buchter. If the Jays can acquire him, Buchter and Aaron Loup together could most likely fill the void of Cecil leaving.
Fernando Abad, LHP, Boston
Abad was acquired by the Boston Red Sox at the deadline last season from the Minnesota Twins to strengthen the bullpen. In Minnesota before the trade, Abad was having a good season with a 2.65 ERA, but the trade to Boston derailed his season. In Boston, Abad put up a 6.39 ERA and Boston might want to move him.
Abad likely won’t cost a lot to get, but the main question is whether Boston would trade him to a division rival. If Abad can regain his Twins form, he could add much-needed left-handed depth for the Jays in an effort to shore up the bullpen.
In the Organization
The Blue Jays have plenty of arms in the organization they could turn to, with some even playing last season with the Blue Jays, but no standout names.
As you figure Loup will most likely be on this roster as he is lefty, same with Danny Barnes. With those two in the bullpen, the Jays would now have five bullpen arms if that they do not acquire any arms.
The Blue Jays would then have a camp battle with Rule 5 pick Glenn Sparkman, Ryan Tepera, Mike Bolsinger (who is out of options), Brett Oberholtzer, Matt Dermody, and Chad Girodo. None are standout names, but each brings something different to the table that could end up working.
So what do you think? What should the Jays do or who should they go after?