I’ve always liked Berríos. I liked him when he was coming up through the system with the Twins. I enjoyed watching him pitch in Minnesota, and I thought he pitched some pretty good baseball for the Blue Jays last year after being traded. I remember thinking that the Blue Jays overpaid for him tremendously, trading former #5 overall pick in Austin Martin in the process. I thought it was a bit of a stretch, but he’s a damn good pitcher, and he’s been a good pitcher his entire career outside of a disastrous rookie season in 2016. I was surprised by the length of this deal, and I was surprised by the money. Jose Berríos is now going to be earning ace money, and while he’s been solid over the last five seasons or so, the numbers do not necessarily reflect that of an ace pitcher. With that said, the best ability is availability, and pitchers like Jose Berríos don’t grow on trees. In an age where starting pitchers seem only to go five innings at a time, Berríos pitched 190 innings or more three times in his career, including 192 innings last year with both the Twins and the Blue Jays. He’s only going to be 28 years old next year, which I think is a big reason for the length of this contract. He has a lot of prime years left.
This also means that the Blue Jays have a lot of faith in their current regime regarding their starting rotation. Coming into last season, one of the big questions so many people had about them was the starting staff. They ended up getting solid years out of Alek Manoah, Hyun-jin Ryu, and Steven Matz. And, of course, they got a Cy Young season out of Robbie Ray. Pete Walker is in high regard as a pitching coach, and it seems like Toronto believes that he can help Berríos find another gear that many people, myself included, think he’s capable of finding. His strikeout numbers, durability, and stuff indicate a pitcher who probably has a Cy Young caliber season in him somewhere down the line. The Toronto Blue Jays are dangerous. They were so close to making the playoffs last year. They have an offense that I believe can be generation-defining with talents like Vladimir Guerrero Jr., Bo Bichette, and Teoscar Hernández leading the way. And now, one of the most durable pitchers in the American League will be taking the mound at Rogers Centre for at least another half-decade (there is an opt-out after year five). The World Series trophy residing north of the border is no longer out of the realm of possibility. The AL East is a tough division, but the Toronto Blue Jays are coming in hot.