I mentioned yesterday how the Blue Jays’ largest, most glaring issue this off-season is the team’s starting pitching depth.
Hyun Jin Ryu is the team’s ace but there isn’t much, if any, certainty after that. And, to be honest, Ryu himself isn’t even all that much of a certainty given his history with injuries. Nate Pearson will hopefully take a step forward, Tanner Roark will ideally not be totally useless, and somebody from the group of T.J. Zeuch, Tom Hatch, Anthony Kay, Trent Thornton, and Julian Merryweather will ideally grab a starting spot and run with it.
That’s a lot of ideally and not a lot of that will absolutely happen. So, long story short, the Blue Jays need to find some starting pitching depth this off-season.
Maybe some of those starters are already here?
According to Pete Walker, Taijuan Walker and Robbie Ray, two of Toronto’s trade deadline additions who are set to hit free agency, both loved it in Toronto.
— Alex Seixeiro (@alexfan590) October 6, 2020
I assume this quote ultimately meant ‘both Walker and Ray loved being Blue Jays’ given the fact neither of them actually played in Toronto this year, but you get the point.
Ray really shouldn’t be expensive to re-sign if the Blue Jays want him back. While he showed some flashes of brilliance as a Blue Jay, like his nice three-inning relief appearance against Tampa Bay in the playoffs, he still posted an ugly 6.62 ERA last season and walked 7.8 batters per nine.
It’s hard to imagine Ray getting anything other than a one-year show-me deal this winter. It would make sense for the Blue Jays, who spent a month working with him and trying to help him through his command issues, to be the team to offer him that deal, I figure.
Walker is a bit more difficult. The 2.70 ERA he posted between Seattle and Toronto this season across 11 starts was the best season of his career, but he also overperformed his peripherals quite a bit. This year’s starting pitching market isn’t amazing, so Walker will obviously be in line to get a hefty increase on the one-year, $2,000,000 deal he signed with the Mariners last winter.
Should it be the Blue Jays who give him that big deal? I mean, sure. You always have to pay a premium to acquire quality starting pitching in free agency. Just look at Tanner Roark, who is ass, and got two years and $24 million last winter. I would rather overpay for a guy with top-end upside like Walker than overpay for back-of-the-rotation guys like Roark.
Interestingly enough, one name that wasn’t mentioned along with Ray and Walker is another soon-to-be free agent pitcher, Matt Shoemaker. I doubt it’s anything to read into, though.