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State of the Position: Blue Jays’ bullpen

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TORONTO — Despite a rotating cast of characters this season, the Toronto Blue Jays bullpen somehow managed to post a reasonable 4.35 ERA, good for eighth in the American League.

Fine in a rebuilding year, but it shouldn’t be a surprise to see the Tampa Bay Rays (3.71), Houston Astros (3.75), Cleveland Indians (3.76), Oakland Athletics (3.89), New York Yankees (4.08) and Minnesota Twins (4.17) were one through six, respectively, in bullpen ERA this season.

All six of those clubs won at least 93 games.

“We’re going to need to add there,” general manager Ross Atkins said. “What we do feel good about is the depth of our 40-man roster, the number of guys that could potentially help our major-league team that will potentially be in Triple-A. We feel like we have a number of guys that will stabilize our bullpen a bit, but we’ll be looking to increase that level of execution with higher-leverage arms that have experience doing that. The starting pitching acquisitions that we, hopefully, make will have some impact on that at the same time.”

There also could be a need for a left-hander, but the new three-batter rule for 2020 as well as Atkins’ own philosophy have minimized that role.

“We haven’t been big on situational left-handed relievers,” Atkins said. “We like guys that can get multiple outs and we’ve, for the most part, deployed even our left-handed relievers that way. I think the industry, really, is using the situational reliever less and less.”

Closer—RHP Ken Giles, age-29