Minnesota Twins Sign Another Legitimate Relief Arm for Already Beefed Up Bullpen

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Los Angeles Dodgers
Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

With Spring Training now only two weeks away, the Minnesota Twins have made another move to strengthen an already beefed up bullpen, signing 36-year-old Jay Jackson, who pitched for the Toronto Blue Jays in 2023, to a Major League contract.

Minnesota Twins sign relief pitcher Jay Jackson

Jay Jackson struggled to bust into the MLB prior to his 31st birthday. In 2015, at the ripe age of 27, he was called up by the San Diego Padres, but struggled in 6 appearances, posting a 6.23 ERA, 1.846 WHIP and a 65 ERA+. His FIP in those 4.1 innings 9 years ago, though? 1.98…

For those who don’t know what FIP is, think of it as what a pitcher’s ERA should be. Sometimes, a pitcher throws great pitches and is outmatched by an even better swing or at-bat. When a pitcher gives up runs in those situations, his ERA goes up but his FIP doesn’t.

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Nonetheless, Jay didn’t get another opportunity in the MLB until four years later in Milwaukee, at the age of 31. This time, he lasted 28 appearances (30.1 IP), brought his ERA down to a more respectable 4.45 (along with a more comparable 4.66 FIP) and his ERA+ up to 101, slightly above league average.

Jay Jackson Minnesota Twins Toronto Blue Jays
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Two seasons later, in 2021, he got another chance, this time with the San Francisco Giants. Yet again, he improved in limited action, pitching 21.2 innings and posting a 3.74 ERA and 112 ERA+. But before he could turn a productive 2021 into a successful 2022, Jay suffered a March Lat injury and was placed on the 60-day injured list.

By the time he was able to climb back to the big leagues (Atlanta Braves this time), Jackson threw just 1.1 innings on the season (allowing 0 runs and 1 hit). But in May 2023, he got another MLB opportunity, this time with the Toronto Blue Jays, and took advantage.

Jay Jackson breaks through in 2023

In multiple big league stints from May 6 to August 11, Jackson pitched 19.2 innings, stretched across 16 games for the Jays. He carried an absolutely absurd 0.46 ERA in that span, along with a .134 BA against and impressive 2.80 FIP. In other words, he was untouchable.

After two “bad outings” in a row in mid-August, where Jackson gave up 3 runs in 2.1 innings pitched, he was sent down, just to be brought back up two weeks later. Pretty much from then on out, Jay was really good, finishing the season with 29.2 innings pitched and an incredible 2.12 ERA to go with and even more impressive 0.910 WHIP.

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On his career, Jay Jackson has a 3.50 ERA, 1.179 WHIP and 124 ERA+, in 87.1 innings pitched. The Minnesota Twins didn’t get a shut-down closer or staple to their bullpen with tonight’s signing. But without a doubt, they added yet another veteran piece with proven competitive stuff to a bullpen that might already be the best in the American League.