2017 Toronto Blue Jays Season Review: Tom Koehler

 Right-hander Tom Koehler posted a 2.65 ERA in 15 appearances for the Toronto Blue Jays in 2017.

Right-hander Tom Koehler posted a 2.65 ERA in 15 appearances for the Toronto Blue Jays in 2017.

By Jay Blue

Blue Jays from Away

Now that the season is over, the crew at Blue Jays from Away will take a look at the Blue Jays one by one and review how each player’s season went, whether he met expectations (or not) and look at how he fits into (what we think of) the Blue Jays’ plans going forward.

Righty Tom Koehler, 31, was acquired by the Blue Jays after the non-waiver trade deadline, bolstering the club's bullpen in the home stretch, but it wasn't considered a slam dunk at the time. Koehler, who was traded for minor leaguer Osman Gutierrez, had started his season with the Miami Marlins as a starting pitcher and was shelled in his first four outings.

Koehler had a 5.14 ERA in 21 innings, giving up 12 runs on 22 hits with 10 walks and 17 strikeouts before getting sent to the minors for one game in triple-A. Called back to the majors, Koehler made four more starts with even worse results, having a 9.35 ERA over 17 1/3 innings, giving up four home runs over that span.

Koehler was placed on the DL with shoulder bursitis and started his rehab in Advanced-A in early June, followed by two more outings in triple-A New Orleans. Called back up the majors at the beginning of July, Koehler struggled again with a 9.87 ERA over 17 1/3 innings and, as a result, was sent back to the minors where he racked up strikeouts and was ultimately traded to Toronto on August 19.

Koehler was placed in the Blue Jays' bullpen after making one successful start to begin his Blue Jays career. He allowed just one run in five innings with seven strikeouts against the Tampa Bay Rays but became a solid bullpen piece after that.

Making 14 appearances coming out of the bullpen, Koehler only allowed runs in two outings, posting a 3.00 ERA over 12 innings with 11 strikeouts and three walks. With Toronto, Koehler was getting many more ground balls than he did with the Marlins and saw about a one-mph jump in fastball velocity, likely due to coming out of the bullpen rather than starting games.

Ultimately, Koehler translated a good one-and-a-half months with Toronto, where he had a 2.65 ERA and 1.29 WHIP with 18 strikeouts and six walks in 17 innings pitched into a big league contract.

With Koehler looking at an increase in salary up to the $6-million range in arbitration for 2018, the Blue Jays decided not to tender him a contract, making him a free agent. He then signed a guaranteed $2-million deal with the L.A. Dodgers for 2018.

Contract Status

Koehler signed a one-year free agent contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers for $2 million.

2017 Regular Season Grades

Jay Blue: B+

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The 2017 Toronto Blue Jays Minor League Handbook is now available! Visit the Handbook page for more information!

Jay Blue

A lifelong Toronto Blue Jays fan, Jay Blue started blogging about the Jays when he was living in Berlin, Germany. He founded his own blog, Blue Jays from Away, to write about developments with his home town team, focusing on the Jays' minor league system. When he's not watching baseball, he is usually on the diamond umpiring or he's pursuing his research interests in the field of ethnomusicology.