A year ago, we didn’t know who Joe Biagini was, other than someone that had pretty good numbers the season before in Double A, in the Giants system. We wondered what the Blue Jays saw in him that made them pick him up in the rule 5 draft.
I didn’t think it was likely he would last the season on the Jays active roster:
I can't imagine a team that expects to contend would want a a pitcher who has never been above Double A to be taking up a roster spot and a spot in the bullpen for the season. If we weren't expecting to contend it might be a different story, it might be worth having him hang around to see if he could handle the longman role out of the pen. They could take the chance to see if he can be like Liam Hendriks, and miss more bats working working in short spurts out of the pen.
Biagini started the season as the long man in the Jays bullpen, and he quickly proved to better and more consistent then Drew Storen and Jesse Chavez. He soon started getting work in higher leverage spots. Then, when we picked up Jason Grilli and Joaquin Benoit, he settled into more of a middle reliever role.
He had a tough June and a tough September, but in all of the other months he had ERAs under 2.00.
And he has a sense of humor, making him a favorite in interviews. And he had a moment with Jimmy Fallon.
The question is:
How do the Blue Jays use Joe Biagini this year?
It looks like they will stretch him out to start during spring training. I don’t see any reason why they wouldn’t. It is a lot easier to go from being stretched out to start, and then go back to relief, than to go the other way around.
The big question is what they will do with him after spring training. He was so good last year, it is hard to imagine that they wouldn’t want him in the pen this year.
But, there is a good part of rule 5 picks. Once you get through the season where they have to stay on the active roster, they have all their options. If the Jays like, he could start the season in the Bisons starting rotation and be moved up and down whenever they want.
Right now the bullpen looks to be: Roberto Osuna, J.P. Howell, Joe Smith, Jason Grilli plus 3 or 4 of a grab bag of Biagini, Danny Barnes, Ryan Tepera, Bo Schultz, Aaron Loup, Mike Bolsinger, Matt Dermody, Chad Girodo, Dominic Leone, Jeff Beliveau, Gavin Floyd, Wil Browning, Lucas Harrell, Glenn Sparkman and likely a dozen other guys who I’ve forgotten about.
Sparkman is this year’s rule 5 guy. If he makes the team it would be in a long relief role, which might push Biagini into the Bisons rotation.
If Biagini started the season in the Bisons rotation, he’d be the lead choice when we need a 6th starter. We are sure to need one at some point. If he’s in our bullpen, I’m not sure who would be the first choice come to start when we need an extra.
I’m not sure what the Jays plan to do.