Pitcher Tanner Roark finds himself in a position where he can really help the Toronto Blue Jays achieve their postseason dreams.
The season is shortened, the stadiums are empty, and the Toronto Blue Jays are playing their home games in a rental home. The instability which marks their 2020 season will get a little more stable each time pitcher Tanner Roark takes the mound.
Drafted out of the 25th round by the Texas Rangers and later traded to the Washington Nationals as an afterthought for Christian Guzman, Roark became a very reliable pitcher during his time in the nation’s capital.
His 2016 season where he went 16-10 with a 2.83 earned run average was his best. After stints with two other teams, Roark found himself as a free agent this past offseason.
The Blue Jays came calling and inked the right hander to a modest 2 year/$24M deal. Hyun-Jin Ryu would be the key pitching acquisition of the offseason, and Roark would pitch more towards the back of the rotation than the front.
After three years pitching .500 baseball with an ERA in the mid-fours, the Jays were willing to throw a few bucks at a guy on a short term contract. During his seven years in the league, Roark has proven he is reliable to pitch every fifth day and can chew up innings given the chance.
In his first outing of the year, Roark silenced the bats of the defending World Series Champion, and his former team, the Washington Nationals. Scattering three hits over five innings, while striking out five and not walking anyone, Roark walked away a winner.
The longer Roark gets stretched out, the deeper he’ll be able to go into games. If he can continue to keep hitters off balance he’ll be a huge piece of the puzzle as the Jays try to navigate the American League East.
The young Jays offense will score runs, though in order to win games they need quality pitching. It may be one start, but the Jays have to be happy with the results they are getting from Tanner Roark to this point.