The Trade Chips – Taijuan Walker and Robbie Ray
Acquired just before the trade deadline, the additions of Taijuan Walker and Robbie Ray to the Toronto Blue Jays told both fans and players that the team was going for it in 2020. And they weren’t brought here to be spectators.
Walker was the victim of some bad defence in his last start, but has generally been solid through his young Blue Jays career. Meanwhile, Ray, who had a rough start to the season with Arizona, seems to have rounded into form with the Jays, making appearances both as a starter and out of the bullpen.
Walker is the one more likely to get the nod, but neither is the arm that you’d like a series hanging on. However, both are experienced pitchers who can give manager Charlie Montoyo a good four innings before it’s time for the bullpen to go to work. Speaking of that bullpen…
The Bullpen – Jordan Romano, Anthony Bass, A.J. Cole, Rafael Dolis, Ryan Borucki, Thomas Hatch, Julian Merryweather, Jacob Waguespack, Shun Yamaguchi, Anthony Kay
Finally, we’ve arrived at the logical answer for Game 3, and possibly even Game 2. The Blue Jays pride themselves on rebuilding their bullpen every year with scrap heap pickups and young prospects, and this year has been no different.
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Until he got injured in late August, Jordan Romano was untouchable. If he can return for the playoffs, he could receive the Andrew Miller–Josh Hader treatment – brought in in the highest leverage situation, no matter the inning.
Rafael Dolis returned to the major leagues after a seven-year hiatus to post career-best numbers. Shun Yamaguchi overcame a brutal start to become one of the Blue Jays’ top long men.
But perhaps the best story from Toronto’s ‘pen comes from Julian Merryweather. Designated as the player to be named later in the trade that sent Josh Donaldson to Cleveland, Merryweather has been blowing opposing batters away with his upper 90s fastball and jarring off-speed pitches.
Of course, the Blue Jays could render this entire article irrelevant before the month is out. However, if they do hold on to a playoff spot, expect this blue-collar bullpen to factor in heavily.