The Toronto Blue Jays felt they had a key piece of their rotation locked into place when they signed Jose Berrios to a seven year, $131 million extension ahead of the 2022 season. That may no longer be the case.
Berrios and the Blue Jays are hoping that he would turn the corner from a disastrous showing in 2022. A strong spring training, and an excellent performance in the World Baseball Classic, would go a long way to easing any concerns.
Jose Berrios’ disastrous WBC outing concerning for Toronto Blue Jays
His performance against Venezuela in the WBC did nothing to assuage any concerns. Berrios allowed six runs on five hits and two walks in his inning of work, striking out one. His fourseam fastball, which he bases the rest of his arsenal on, was hammered by the Venezuelan squad. Considering that opponents had a .368 batting average and a .632 slugging percentage on his fastball, and it was his second most frequently used pitch last season, it was a recipe for disaster.
There had been some signs of hope before Saturday. He had allowed just two runs in his five innings in spring training, although he allowed nine baserunners. However, as he is still working his way back into shape, those results were not terrible. His ability to keep runs off the board was enough for the Blue Jays to imagine that he would bounce back in the upcoming year.
Now it is back to square one. The Blue Jays are going to have a lot of work to do as they look to rebuild Berrios. His arsenal is going to need to be revamped as he may need to start pitching backwards. He had excellent results with his changeup and slider; using those while mixing the fourseam as a third or fourth option. Maybe then, Berrios can begin to be the pitcher the Blue Jays hoped for.
The Toronto Blue Jays have a Jose Berrios problem. Their hopes that he will rebound took a hit with his performance in the World Baseball Classic.