Toronto’s bullpen picture got a little less murky today when Jon Heyman tweeted out that veteran lefty Craig Breslow had been told he wasn’t going to make the Blue Jays. I mean, I don’t know if anyone actually expected Breslow to make the team, but we now know that he won’t be coming north.
craig breslow has been told he's not going to make the jays major-league team. tho results have been mixed in spring (better lately!), breslow said he feels confident that what he's doing will work somewhere. he lowered his release point to become even more effective vs. lefties.— Jon Heyman (@JonHeyman) March 21, 2018
Breslow pitched in 6 2/3 inning for the Jays over the course of spring training and wasn’t very good. He surrendered five earned runs on 10 hits and five walks while picking up five strikeouts.
The Jays had to let Breslow know that he wasn’t going to crack the squad in advance of the season due to Article XX-B protection.
Players with six years of major-league service time that sign minor-league deals now have what is called Article XX-B protection. Teams either have to put these players on the major-league roster or release them five days prior to the start of the MLB season. If they do neither, they must pay that player a $100,000 retention bonus.
Like I said, it really isn’t a surprise that Breslow didn’t make the team. He isn’t on the 40-man roster and the Jays would have to DFA another pitcher like Matt Dermody to make room for him. Given the fact Dermody is young, can be optioned, and is at least as good as Breslow at this point, that doesn’t make much sense.
It looks like the Jays might roll with just one lefty in their ‘pen to start the season. As of right now, the seven-man set of relievers appears to be Roberto Osuna, Seung Hwan Oh, Ryan Tepera, Danny Barnes, Tyler Clippard, John Axford, and Aaron Loup.
Best of luck to Breslow catching on somewhere else as he’s actually a pretty fascinating story. Breslow used analytics to try to resurrect his career, as he believes he can be effective by changing his release point. It’s a cool read.