MLB Rumors: Blue Jays Linked To Royals Reliever

Fact: The Toronto Blue Jays have World Series goals this season. Also true: Their bullpen is still short probably one really solid arm to be championship-level worthy. And if this all sounds familiar, that's because it is. 

The Toronto bullpen has been the weak link for a few seasons now. They still need some lights-out help to get to closer Jordan Romano.

Former New York Yankees set-up man Chad Green was signed to be that guy, but he's still several months away from being ready, as he recovers from Tommy John surgery last June. Despite the Jays' hopes, there's simply no guarantee he'll be ready to pitch or have a significant impact in 2023. 

All of this is to say that the Jays are still active on the reliever market. 

One name that's been linked to Toronto is Kansas City Royals closer (co-closer?) Scott Barlow. The right-hander has notched 40 saves for KC since taking over the closing duties later in the 2021 season. Last year, he picked up 24 saves in 28 opportunities. He has a 2.30 ERA and 1.10 WHIP across 2021/22.

But the Royals went out and added a free agent this offseason who has 315 career saves plus a World Series under his belt, in Aroldis Chapman. Granted, he crashed and burned last year for the New York Yankees, but that came on the heels of three All-Star selections in the previous four seasons. 

It's unlikely he would have signed with the Royals if not given the chance to close games. Which puts Barlow in a bit of a compromised position.

If KC is, as expected, not in the race coming midseason, they could quite likely look to trade the 30-year-old Barlow (and/or Chapman) to a contender for some prospect return. That's where the Jays would come in. 

It wouldn't be a pure rental for Barlow (as it would be for Chapman), as the former has one more year of control before becoming a free agent after the 2024 season. Keep an eye on this situation if the Toronto bullpen isn't up to snuff. 

Photo: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports