The Blue Jays are planning to exercise their club option on reliever Anthony Bass, reports Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet. Bass will receive a $3MM salary for 2023 instead of a $1MM buyout.
It’s an unsurprising move, as that modest salary is a bargain for an effective middle-innings arm of Bass’ ilk. The veteran righty hasn’t posted an ERA above 4.00 in any of the past five years, working at least 25 innings in each season since 2019. That includes 70 1/3 frames over a career-high 73 games for the Marlins and Blue Jays this past season. He tallied a cumulative 1.54 ERA over that time, striking out 26.5% of opponents against a modest 7.3% walk rate.
At last summer’s trade deadline, the Jays acquired Bass and fellow reliever Zach Pop in a deal that sent former first-rounder Jordan Groshans to Miami. The 35-year-old Bass was generally given medium-leverage work by skipper John Schneider, but he handled himself well north of the border. In 25 2/3 innings in a Toronto uniform, Bass posted a 1.75 ERA while averaging just under 95 MPH on his fastball.
Toronto had a middle-of-the-road bullpen in 2022, ranking 13th with a 3.77 ERA and 14th with a 23.6% strikeout rate. General manager Ross Atkins and his group could look into adding some relief help from outside the organization this winter to strengthen the bridge to star closer Jordan Romano.
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