Let's face it. It would have been nice to get another starting pitcher so Aaron Sanchez could start the season in the bullpen (I personally wanted Francisco Liriano). Or it would have been nice to sign one of the many relievers that have already been given new ZIP codes (I personally wanted Pat Neshek to get a postal code instead of a ZIP code).
But, we're over halfway through the off-season, and the Blue Jays' bullpen looks the same as at the end of the 2014 season. As pointed out by Tom Dakers, we currently have sure things in Aaron Loup, Brett Cecil, Chad Jenkins and Todd Redmond. Redmond likely still represents our long reliever, so that leaves two spots (three if we have a seven-man bullpen again) for effective, low-pitch-count relievers. The best hopes for these jobs that the Blue Jays have in-house currently are Steve Delabar, Aaron Sanchez and Rob Rasmussen. As Tom suggests, Sanchez would likely have to move to the bullpen if no other moves were made. Which might mean Marco Estrada is our fifth starter, at least until Daniel Norris gets called up. This is all because, while the infield was getting a much-needed facelift, the bullpen sat on the backburner.
This is a whole lot of posturing though. The fact is, there's a lot of offseason left for Alex Anthopoulos to address this issue. Similarly, the fact the bullpen was left to last is just smart management. I am a firm believer in the theory that suggests when building a championship team, you build the bullpen last.
So, although the Blue Jays have been mentioned in rumours of signing Francisco Rodriguez or trading for Wade Davis, I'm in favour of re-addressing the bullpen during spring training. That being said, if trading for Wade Davis all-of-a-sudden became worth it, I would hope Anthopoulos would jump on that opportunity. But relievers are such fickle things. Not to mention, they're one of the most available commodities come trade deadline time. Of note, top tier relievers Andrew Miller, Joakim Soria, Huston Street, Jason Grilli and Ernesto Frieri all changed teams at the deadline.
There's no question in my mind that teams that are performing below expectations will want to move out their expensive bullpen parts who are getting paid to close games that don't matter any more. Which relievers those will be, I'm not sure. I hold out hope that both Wade Davis and Greg Holland will become cheaper to acquire halfway through the season.
Anthopoulos has improved our offense enough to afford some time to re-evaluate his bullpen. If Steve Delabar gets back to form, maybe the Blue Jays need for a closer isn't that imminent. If not, maybe Aaron Sanchez can close games. If not, maybe Brett Cecil. This all seems more worth it to me than signing the now 33-year old Francisco Rodriguez (happy birthday by the way!).
Which relievers do you think will become available near the deadline? Which ones do you want made available?