The Blue Jays are apparently among the teams interested in adding one of the “lefties still out there”
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By Cam Lewis7 months ago
We’re into the Dog Days of Winter now as pretty much everybody around baseball has done their heavy lifting for the off-season.
With just over two months left until Opening Day, there are still a handful of notable names left floating around in free agency who don’t yet have contracts for the 2023 season. There’s been plenty of talk about the Blue Jays adding another outfielder who can smash lefty pitching, but another thing worth considering is Toronto adding another left-handed pitcher to the bullpen.
Over at The Athletic, Ken Rosenthal wrote a column about some of the players who are still available in free agency, and he noted that the Blue Jays were among the teams who have expressed interest in the “lefties still out there…”
“Another curiosity in the free-agent market is the continuing availability of three accomplished left-handed relievers — Zack Britton, Andrew Chafin and Matt Moore. In the view of one executive, the expectations for those pitchers changed after the Phillies awarded Matt Strahm a two-year, $15 million deal in early December. “That deal destroyed the market,” the exec said.…According to sources with knowledge of the market but unauthorized to speak publicly, the teams with varying interest in left-handed relievers and varying amounts to spend include the Rangers, Angels and Astros in the AL West; Yankees, Red Sox and Blue Jays in the AL East; and Brewers, Cardinals and Cubs in the NL Central.”
Among those names, Britton is the most accomplished. He put together one of the best seasons ever by a reliever back in 2016 when pitching for the Baltimore Orioles, posting a sparkling 0.54 ERA over 69 appearances.
As we know, his season ended that year watching from the bullpen as Ubaldo Jimenez served a meatball to Edwin Encarnacion that was lifted into orbit. Maybe he could finally get his chance to pitch in the playoffs in Toronto as a Blue Jay!
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The trouble with Britton, who turned 35 years old in December, is the uncertainty around his arm. He missed a good chunk of the 2021 season with elbow issues and ultimately underwent Tommy John in September of that year. In 2022, he fared well in eight appearances in the Yankees’ minor-league system and came up and made one appearance for the team at the big-league level.
Britton would be a high-risk, high-reward addition. You’d think that teams are skeptical about giving him a two-year deal and that’s likely what he’s holding out to try to find.
Matt Moore is a name that stands out from a decade ago when he was an excellent young starter with the Tampa Bay Rays. Injuries got in the way of Moore establishing himself as a consistent starter over the years but it seems he found his groove in the bullpen with the Texas Rangers in 2022. Over 74 innings, Moore posted a 1.95 ERA while striking out 10.9 batters per nine innings.
Andrew Chafin has been a strong and occasionally dominant relief pitcher for quite a few years, save for a disastrous showing during the pandemic season in 2020. Most recently, he made 64 appearances for the Detroit Tigers and posted a 2.83 ERA while striking out 10.5 batters per nine. Why he wasn’t moved to a contender at the trade deadline remains a mystery.
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As it stands right now, the Blue Jays’ bullpen will like consist of Jordan Romano, Anthony Bass, Erik Swanson, Yimi Garcia, Tim Mayza, Adam Cimber, Trevor Richards, and one of Yusei Kikuchi or Mitch White, depending on who isn’t named to the starting rotation.
If Kikuchi is in the rotation, that would mean Mayza is the only lefty expected to be in Toronto’s bullpen, and the only other insurance option on the 40-man right now is Matt Gage. So, with that in mind, you can see why the Blue Jays would be interested in adding one of the aforementioned three lefty relievers.
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