I’m not even 30 years old… Beyond Ryu Hyun-jin, Toronto’s highest-paid pitcher ‘questionable sluggishness’
The fall of pitcher Jose Berrios (29), who signed the highest contract ever with the Toronto Blue Jays, is not unusual. Like last year, this year is off to a bad start.
Berrios started in an away game against the Kansas City Royals in the 2023 Major League Baseball, which was held at Coffman Stadium in Kansas City, Missouri, USA on the 4th (Korean time), and collapsed with 5 ⅔ innings, 9 hits, 2 walks, 7 strikeouts and 8 runs. As Toronto lost 5-9, Berios suffered a loss from his first start of the season.
Berios, who was hit with a double by Kansas City No. 1 MJ Melendez from the start of the first inning, got three consecutive hits from Bobby Witt Jr., Michael Massey and Kyle Isbel in the second inning and allowed three runs. He blocked the 2nd and 3rd innings without allowing a run, but also got 5 hits in the 4th inning and allowed an additional 4 runs. He was hit relentlessly, allowing a two-run triple to Nikki Lopez and a one-run double to Vinny Pas Quantino.
He endured until the sixth inning with two outs and second base, but was eventually replaced with 89 pitches. The next pitcher, Jack Pop, hit a two-run home run off Melendez, increasing Berrios’ run to eight runs. Last year, there were two 8-run games, but this year, from the first mound, 8 runs were hit.
On this day, Berrios used slubs (36) and changeups (안전놀이터9) in addition to sinkers (21), four-seam (23) and fastballs with a maximum of 95.9 miles (154.3 km), but Kansas City hitters seemed to know and hit with good timing produced batting balls. Up, down, left and right courses and pitches were hit regardless.
According to ‘MLB.com’, after the game, Berrios said, “There were a few misplaced pitches. It wasn’t bad, but it wasn’t pitching the way I wanted it to be. The hitters did a good job against me,” he said. Toronto coach John Schneider, who has a headache from the sluggish starting pitchers, said, “Pitchers always have a hard time in the first appearance at the beginning of the season. It will get better from the second appearance,” he promised. However, in the case of Beverios, concerns are ahead in that it has been sluggish since last year.
Berrios, a right-handed pitcher from Puerto Rico, debuted with the Minnesota Twins in 2016 and was selected as an All-Star for two consecutive years from 2018 to 2019. He came to Toronto at the end of the trade deadline in July 2021, and signed a 7-year, $131 million contract extension after the season that year. Exceeded the 7-year, $126 million contract of outfielder Vernon Wells in December 2006, the highest contract ever with the Toronto club. He surpassed Ryu Hyun-jin’s 4-year, $80 million contract in December 2019, which was the highest for a pitcher.
With one year left in free agency, Toronto spent the club’s highest amount to capture Berrios early. At the time of his signing, the 27-year-old, young and durable Berry Osra was evaluated as a good contract at a reasonable level. However, last year, the first year of his contract, he posted 12 wins and 7 losses in 32 games (172 innings), but the content was not good with an earned run average of 5.23, the highest since 2017 when he became a full-time big leaguer. His 29 home runs were also the worst of his career.
He was neither ill nor out of restraint. It wasn’t that his pitching had gotten much worse, but he was strangely attacked by batters. He was not yet 30 years old, so he regarded the sudden sluggishness as a temporary phenomenon, but this season also collapsed greatly from his first game. Anxiety is growing due to the repeated sluggishness of Toronto La Berrios, who has a contract for the next six years.