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Better know your Blue Jays 40-man: Joe Biagini

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Toronto Blue Jays v New York Yankees Photo by Abbie Parr/Getty Images

You know the story.

Picked up in the Rule 5 draft, before the 2016 season. I didn’t expect much. But he did a very nice job working out of the bullpen.

He started the 2016 season as our long man/mop up guy, but moved into a set up role when Drew Storen and Jesse Chavez failed. Then we picked up Jason Grilli and Joaquin Benoit and Joe moved back to more a middle reliever role.

Last year? He spent spring training starting. I thought the plan was to have him start in Buffalo, and be the first choice if someone in the rotation got hurt. But, instead he started the season in the bullpen.

Then, when the injuries started, he was moved into the rotation.

I didn’t think it was a fair way to do things, but that’s life. Sometimes it isn’t fair. The swingman role has kind of disappeared from the MLB. Swingmen used to pitch 3-4 innings at a time in relief, then, when asked to make a start, it wasn’t that big a stretch to go 6-7 innings in a start. Joe went from making 1 to 2 inning relief appearance to starting.

Anyway, Joe worked in the pen in April, was moved to the rotation in early May, made 11 starts, then back to the pen in July. In August, he went down to Buffalo to get stretched out again and came back in late August to make 7 starts.

The starts ranged from very good: 7 innings, 5 hits, no runs, 1 walk and 10 strikeouts, September 1 vs. the Orioles, to very bad: 1.1 innings, 5 hits, 6 runs, 4 earned, 1 walk, 0 strikeouts and 2 homers, September 17 vs. the Twins.

Unfortunately, there were more bad starts than we would like to see. He seemed to have that one inning where things would spin out of control on him.

This year’s question is the same as last year’s:

Will he be in the rotation or the bullpen?

Right now he appears to be penciled into the 5th spot of the rotation. Unless we sign or trade for another starter, which is a strong possibility.

If we don’t sign a starter, it looks like Biagini would be in the rotation, with Sean Reid-Foley, Tom Pannone and, likely, Taylor Guerrieri starting in Buffalo, waiting for an opening in the majors.

If they sign a starter, then Joe likely goes to the pen.

Personally, I’m not against giving Joe a real shot at showing he could make it as the fifth starter. I read people with total confidence saying he could never be a starter, but we don’t know yet. We are fond of making early judgements. But we’ve been wrong enough times that I think we could entertain the possibility that we are wrong here.

I’d like them to make a decision and stick with it. If they think he’s a starter, start him for the season. If not, leave in him the pen for the season. Stop the back and forth stuff.

Poll

In 2018 Joe Biagini will have more

This poll is closed

  • 24%
    Starts
    (158 votes)
  • 68%
    Relief appearances
    (438 votes)
  • 7%
    Appearances in Bisons’ games (boy that’s pessimistic option)
    (48 votes)
644 votes total Vote Now