Pitching Notes: Berrios, Giolito, Eovaldi, Minor,

The Toronto Blue Jays may have some difficulty carving out a role for José Berríos in their postseason rotation. Gregor Chisholm of the Toronto Star pointed out in a Thursday opinion piece that in a scenario that sees the Jays go to a third game in the AL Wild Card Series, Berríos could find himself coming out of the bullpen.

Berríos has not been the pitcher Toronto had hoped he would be since the club gave him the second largest contract in franchise history in terms of total value last offseason. Nearly a season into his seven-year, $131 million extension, the twenty-eight year old right-hander has struggled to turn out quality outings with any consistency. Excluding a rough rookie season, Berríos is posting career worsts in ERA, WHIP, K/9, HR/9, BABIP, and HardHit%. He is also not trending in the right direction, accumulating a 6.92 in the month of August and conceding six earned runs in just two innings to the Rays on Thursday night.

Alek Manoah and Kevin Gausman are the presumptive choices for the Jays’ first two games of the best-of-three Wild Card Series. If that series goes to a decisive third game, barring injury, manager John Schneider will likely face a choice between starting Ross Stripling, who has had an excellent 2022, or Berríos.

More on other pitching situations from around the league…

  • White Sox righty Lucas Giolito is another tenured AL ace that has not pitched to his potential in 2022. His 5.05 ERA, 1.477 WHIP, and 9.9 H/9 are his lowest since he broke out in 2019. After a September 16th start in which he gutted out 4 2/3 innings of one run ball, Giolito told James Fagan of The Athletic that his stuff was “obviously just like, not really there,” as it has been for most of the season. He continued on to cite a lack of fastball velocity as a chief contributor to his 2022 struggles. Giolito’s four-seam velocity has averaged 92.9 mph this season, a full 1.5 mph slower than his 2019 peak. The Sox can retain him for one more season via arbitration before he is scheduled to reach free agency as a 29-year-old, with Giolito surely hoping to find a way to have a better campaign in his platform year.
  • Nathan Eovaldi, who will be a free agent this offseason, alluded to his desire to re-sign with the Red Sox in an interview with Chad Jennings of The Athletic. “I love being here,” Eovaldi said. “It’s the front office, it’s the coaching staff, the training staff. Here, they all want to win.” It is unclear whether the 32-year old fits into Boston’s future plans. The Red Sox are on the precipice of a potentially turbulent offseason in which Eovaldi and DH J.D. Martinez are free agents and the contracts of superstars Rafael Devers and Xander Bogaerts have yet to be resolved. Boston’s uncertain future, in addition to the fact that Eovaldi spent so much of his 2018 pact with the Red Sox on the IL, casts some doubt on the notion that Red Sox will share Eovaldi’s interest in a reunion. However, with Rich Hill and Michael Wacha both headed into free agency as well, the club will certainly be looking to fill some rotation holes for 2023.
  • Reds lefty Mike Minor told Bobby Nightengale of the Cincinnati Enquirer that he is considering retirement at the conclusion of the 2022 season. “I’d have to feel good, and I’d have to want to play and want to be away from my family again,” Minor said. Three years removed from an All-Star nod with the Rangers, Minor battled injuries for the first two months of 2022. In total, he has thrown 98 innings to the tune of a 6.06 ERA for a non-competitive Reds team. Minor will face free agency this offseason should he elect to return to the big-leagues for a 12th year.

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