Blue Jays sign reliever Chad Green to 2-year deal
TORONTO -- The Blue Jays are playing the long game with their latest bullpen upgrade, agreeing to a two-year deal with right-hander Chad Green, the club announced on Tuesday.
The $8.5 million deal is expected to come with a unique contract structure. Besides, it’s a unique deal, given that the 31-year-old Green is still recovering from Tommy John surgery in May.
In the contract, Green’s second year is a conditional player option that he can exercise if the Blue Jays decline a three-year club option, which would bring the deal through 2026. If both sides decline those options, then the Blue Jays get a two-year club option at a higher average annual salary.
This structure gives both sides some flexibility and security, but for now, the focus will be on getting Green back on the mound.
Green’s Tommy John surgery, which he underwent with the Yankees, will keep him out through the early months of the season, but the second half is full of possibility. Working with a typical recovery timeline, which can stretch from 12 to 14 months or longer, Green could return to pitch down the stretch in ’23, just as the Blue Jays would be hoping to make a postseason push. If it all breaks that way, Green would represent a major addition.
Green bounced between the bullpen and rotation in his earlier days with the Yankees, but he has thrived as a reliever. Over his past three seasons, Green owns a 3.18 ERA with 10.6 strikeouts per nine innings, a key number for a club that’s actively targeted more swing-and-miss pitchers.
When healthy, Green throws a high-spin fastball that sits near 95 mph with a curveball he uses as a secondary pitch. His ability to rack up strikeouts over multiple innings has to appeal to the Blue Jays, too, especially if Green remains with the club for multiple years.
Green’s ’21 season works as the best example -- he threw 83 2/3 innings over 67 appearances. That included 12 appearances of two innings or more, and multi-inning relievers have shown to be valuable to the Blue Jays in recent seasons, when they’ve utilized more swingmen or bullpen days to cover the No. 5 spot in the rotation, which is currently up for grabs between Yusei Kikuchi and Mitch White.
By the time Green returns to the Toronto bullpen, it could look much different, but the initial group offers a better combination of depth and upside than this club has rolled out in years. The early-offseason addition of Erik Swanson should change the dynamic of that back end, and with a wealth of sturdy options through the middle innings, Toronto’s group has slowly built up its potential and Green only adds to that, long-term.