DUNEDIN, FLA. - The Blue Jays’ bullpen will be an area of intense discussion this spring, both in the club’s inner sanctum and in the public forum.
While Alex Anthopoulos was renovating his starting rotation over the winter, adding Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle and R.A. Dickey to Ricky Romero and Brandon Morrow, he also carefully assembled a group of relievers he hopes will be able to thrive in the pressure cooker of the American League East.
The intent is to shift innings pitched from the bullpen to the starters. Last season was a disaster in that the starters as a group pitched just 916 innings while the bullpen was overloaded with 528 innings. The success of a bullpen over the course of a season is always tied to the success of the starting rotation.
If a bullpen is constantly asked to get more than 10 outs per nine-inning game, trouble is always lurking in those late innings.