Under the Mark Shapiro and Ross Atkins regime, the Toronto Blue Jays have excelled at developing young catchers and middle infielders throughout the minor leagues but haven’t been nearly as successful on the pitching front, and those struggles hugely impacted their big-league roster in 2022.
After acquiring Kevin Gausman in free agency last off-season, the club’s starting rotation was nearly complete and needed just one additional pitcher to round out a talented group that included Gausman, Alek Manoah, José Berríos and Hyun Jin Ryu. In an ideal world, that fifth hurler would’ve been someone already within the organization, though due to a lack of depth at the triple-A level, that wasn’t a realistic outcome.
Nate Pearson – who completed only 45.2 innings the previous season – was the closest MLB-ready arm in the system heading into last season but couldn’t be counted on amid his inconsistent workload and prolonged control issues. And neither could Thomas Hatch, who struggled to a 6.75 ERA and a 6.49 FIP across three major-league appearances in 2021.
Thus, forcing the Blue Jays to explore the free-agent market again, hoping to land another impact starter. The only problem, however, is that the owner-imposed lockout prevented them from doing so until closer to the start of …
Author: Thomas Hall / Blue Jays Nation