These past two seasons have been somewhat nightmarish for Joe Biagini as he attempted to make the tricky transition from reliever to starting pitcher. The experience was made that much more difficult considering that he had to make the switch right in the middle of the 2017 season. Alas, the Blue Jays were short on quality starting pitchers, and Biagini volunteered his services as a possible candidate for the rotation.
Back in 2016 the Blue Jays bullpen wouldn’t have been anywhere near as good without the breakout year that Biagini had. Two years later and it’s a similar story. The Blue Jays find themselves without their top two relievers, Roberto Osuna and Ryan Tepera, and are in desperate need of players to step-up in their absence. One player who’s certainly raised his game of late has been Biagini. Biagini’s improved play has not only bolstered a seriously depleted bullpen, its also probably secured him a place in the big leagues come 2019.
What can’t be forgotten is that Biagini had a big league job (and the sizeable salary that comes with it) when he became a regular in Toronto’s bullpen two years ago. The Blue Jays and Biagini had a really good thing with him working out of the bullpen, and they were both taking a considerable risk by attempting to turn him into a big league starter. Not only would Toronto be missing out on a reliable arm in the bullpen, but Biagini would be missing out on playing in the big leagues (along with that big league pay cheque), as he worked on his game down in the minors.
Considering everything that Biagini gave up in his attempt to become a starting pitcher, the Blue Jays owed him every opportunity to earn back his spot in the bullpen if and when the starting pitcher experiment failed. Toronto doesn’t want to be in the business of spoiling the career of a promising young player. Especially one who after four years in the minors was finally given a shot to play in the big leagues after Toronto took a chance on him in the Rule 5 draft.
There’s no denying Biagini is at his best when coming out of the bullpen. Over his last 9 outings, his ERA is a minuscule 0.79 (1 ER over 11.1 innings) and he’s beginning to look much like he did during his stellar rookie year. Kudos to the Blue Jays for continuing to stand by Biagini when things didn’t exactly work out for him as hoped. Toronto could have easily kept him in the minors instead of giving him another shot so quickly in their bullpen. Instead, their way of thanking Biagini for pretty much putting his career on the line was to give him back his old job in the bullpen, and standing by him when most other teams would have moved on.