Free agent LHP Andrew Heaney among arms on Blue Jays’ radar

Los Angeles Dodgers' Andrew Heaney pitches against the San Francisco Giants during the first inning of a baseball game in San Francisco, Monday, Aug. 1, 2022. (Jeff Chiu/AP)

TORONTO – As the Toronto Blue Jays seek pitching, a familiar name is on their radar once again.

According to an industry source, the Blue Jays have shown interest in left-hander Andrew Heaney, who they pursued aggressively last off-season only to see him land with the Los Angeles Dodgers, where he posted a career-best 3.10 ERA. The 31-year-old started 14 games for the Dodgers, pitching 72.2 regular season innings plus three more in the playoffs.

Though Heaney’s fastball averages 93 m.p.h., he pairs it with an effective slider to generate an elite chase rate, whiff rate and strikeout rate. He struck out 35.5 per cent of hitters he faced in 2022, well above the MLB average of 22.1 per cent, while walking 6.1 per cent of batters.

Heaney signed a one-year, $8.5 million deal last winter, but MLB Trade Rumours now forecasts a three-year, $42 million contract following his 2022 season.

With Ross Stripling now officially a free agent, the Blue Jays are seeking reinforcements for their starting rotation. Under those circumstances, it’s certainly not surprising that they’d show interest in Heaney as well as many others.

“It felt like we’ve met with every potential representative of every potential fit and had dialogue from every potential fit with potential trade scenarios that we can see,” Blue Jays GM Ross Atkins said Thursday, speaking in general terms as the GM Meetings wrapped up. “If we didn’t meet face-to-face, then there were lengthy exchanges.”

This early in the free agent process, both sides have plenty of alternatives. After the year he had, Heaney’s sure to be in demand while the Blue Jays are considering a wide range of fits as well. Now the question is whether Heaney and the Blue Jays get further along than they did this time last year.

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