Back in 2016, Joe Biagini was one of Toronto’s best relievers and a big reason why they made it to the post-season for a second year in a row. It’s such a common story…mediocre starting pitcher while in the minors becomes stand-out reliever in the big leagues. It begs the question, why mess with a good thing?
The only reason Biagini had a chance to pitch in the big leagues these past three seasons was because the Blue Jays plucked him from the depths of minor league baseball via the Rule 5 draft. Sad that the same team who provided Biagini with the opportunity to play in the majors would now be tinkering with him to the extent that he risks losing out on many of his prime years for an experiment that’s clearly not working.
Biagini as a starter was an interesting idea. The Blue Jays were short on starters and Biagini was more than happy to get back to doing what he’d done for the majority of his time in the minors. Now that we’re one year into this mess, it’s time for Biagini to get back to the role that established him as a big league caliber player in the first place…a relief pitcher.
All this back and forth business with him being a starter one day and a reliever the next has got to stop. It’s not only clear that Biagini isn’t cut-out to start in the majors, but that he also doesn’t respond well to his role constantly changing. To their credit, the Blue Jays have been using Biagini out of the bullpen the past few weeks, but the minute anything happens to one of J.A. Happ, Aaron Sanchez, Marco Estrada, Jaime Garcia, or Sam Gaviglio, one has to wonder if Toronto may just ask Biagini to make the switch yet again.
Biagini has been going from being a reliever to a starter so often that he’s pretty much forgotten how to do either well. Baseball players are creatures of habit, and considering Biagini’s quirky personality, he’s probably an extreme example of that type of behaviour. What he needs now is a clear message from the Blue Jays that says, this isn’t quite working as we’d hoped. We still need you, but we need you as a reliever, and to be the pitcher you were two years ago. Until you get back to being that dominant player, you’re going down to Buffalo to work solely as a reliever until you’re 100% ready to be inserted back into the Blue Jays bullpen.