The date was May 7, 2017 when the Blue Jays began using Joe Biagini as a starting pitcher. At the time, Toronto had lost both Aaron Sanchez and J.A. Happ to injury and their starting rotation was in shambles. Desperate for starting pitchers, Toronto removed Biagini (one of their more reliable relievers) from the bullpen and quickly transitioned him into a starter.
Ever since he began starting ball games nearly two years ago, pretty much nothing has gone right for Biagini. Whether he’s starting or relieving (and he’s done plenty of both the past two seasons), he’s looked nothing like the dominant reliever he was in 2016.
Thankfully, all that constant back and forth between the bullpen and rotation is something Biagini won’t have to worry about anymore. Unlike 2017 and 2018, the Blue Jays now have far more depth when it comes to starting pitching. Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez are looking better than they have in years. In addition to Stroman and Sanchez, Toronto has their choice of which three pitchers out of Clay Buchholz, Matt Shoemaker, Ryan Borucki, and Clayton Richard to round out the rotation.
Not only do the Blue Jays have the aforementioned six big league level starting pitchers, they also have considerable depth down in the minors with the likes of Sean Reid-Foley, Trent Thornton, Sam Gaviglio (assuming he doesn’t make the Blue Jays bullpen), and T.J. Zeuch. The Blue Jays can and will call upon these starters before ever considering to ask Biagini to start again.
With the recent injuries to Ryan Tepera and John Axford, Toronto’s bullpen can be thankful they have Biagini back there for good. This is Biagini’s opportunity to prove that what he accomplished in ’16 was by no means a fluke. Unlike the previous two years, Biagini has the comfort of knowing he’ll be a reliever from this point forward. And based on how sharp he’s looked so far this Spring (0.00 ERA, 7.0 IP, 8 SO), he appears ready to re-establish his standing in the Blue Jays bullpen.