After dispatching Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez during trade deadline season, it’s an understatement to say the Blue Jays are low on pitching.
While the Jays are looking to give their young arms a chance, it looks like they’re also open to veteran solutions.
Goldley is an intriguing name because he has a track record of recent success. In 2017 he had an outstanding year, posting a 3.38 ERA, backed by a 3.41 FIP across 155 innings. That performance was worth 3.4 Wins Above Replacement.
Last season, his ERA ballooned to 4.74, but his peripherals were still solid and he managed 2.5 WAR. Those are mid-rotation type numbers, which have to be appealing to a team like the Blue Jays with a gaggle of pitching prospects, but no sure things.
The catch, and reason that Godley is available, is that the 29-year-old has been dreadful lately. Godley has a 6.39 ERA across 76 innings this season, appearing largely out of the bullpen for a surprisingly competitive Diamondbacks team.
His biggest issue has been a massive strikeout rate decline. In 2017 and 2018 he struck out more than a batter per inning. In 2019, his K/9 is a dismal 6.87.
Godley already had a few red flags coming into 2019, like an uncomfortably high walk rate (4.09 BB/9 in 2018) and an unimpressive fastball velocity (89.9 mph), but in the past he’d been able to mitigate those issues by missing bats — largely with his plus curveball. This year, when the K’s declined the whole package fell apart.
That’s not a particularly positive prognosis, but Godley remains a worthy gamble for the Blue Jays. Returning to his 2017 form is probably unrealistic (his fastball was a more serviceable 91.9 mph then), but there isn’t any obvious reason to believe a repeat of 2018 isn’t out of reach. Godley’s effectiveness always danced on the edge of a knife to some extent, but that doesn’t mean he can never rediscover it.
If he doesn’t, which is frankly the most likely outcome, the Blue Jays won’t have lost anything except a couple of reps for their younger players. That’s hardly a huge issue as most of those prospects — like Jacob Waguespack and Thomas Pannone — probably have ceilings lower than a revitalized Godley, anyway.
Toronto also has the option to try to help him discover his form out of the bullpen, where there are definitely potential vacancies. If he doesn’t perform, the club will non-tender him in the offseason. If he does, that’s three more years Ross Atkins can add to his “team control” stash.
Whatever the case may be, Godley has a higher established level of performance than almost any waiver claim you’re going to find. He’s also not that far removed from reaching that level. It would be unfair to expect big things from the right-hander, but he’s about as good a bet as you’re going to get for free.
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