The Blue Jays announced this morning that the club has exercised its two-year club option on the services of veteran right-hander Chad Green. Green will now earn $21MM total across the 2024 and 2025 seasons. Green signed an unusual contract with Toronto this past offseason that afforded the club a three-year, $27MM team option, which if declined would offer Green a one-year, $6.5MM player option. If both of those options were declined, the Blue Jays would then have a final two-year, $21MM option. Evidently, the first club option and Green’s player option were both declined before Toronto picked up the two-year option.
Green, 32, missed most of the 2022 and ’23 campaigns while rehabbing from Tommy John surgery. A look at Green’s basic run prevention stats would indicate that the right-hander struggled in his return to action in 2023, given his 5.25 ERA that was 17% worse than league average. That doesn’t tell the whole story, however, as Green pitched just twelve innings with Toronto this year and had excellent peripheral stats. He struck out a whopping 30.8% of batters faced while walking just 7.7% with one home run allowed, giving him a much more palatable 2.67 FIP.
That sort of performance is much more in line with Green’s career numbers. After an uneven rookie season where he was used primarily as a starter in 2016, Green became one of the most reliable set-up men in the game from 2017-2022, as he posted a 2.96 ERA (147 ERA+) with a 3.01 FIP and a 33.4% strikeout rate. Impressive as those numbers are, they’re actually somewhat bogged down by a brief return to starting in 2019. Over the course of his entire career, Green sports a sterling 2.88 ERA across 338 innings out of the bullpen. That’s the sixth-best figure among all relievers with at least 300 innings of work since Green’s debut in 2016, surpassed only by Josh Hader, Kenley Jansen, Raisel Iglesias, Blake Treinen, and Aroldis Chapman.
Of course, it’s an open question whether or not Green can reach those heights again in his age-33 and -34 campaigns. After all, Green heads into his mid-thirties coming off a lengthy rehab from surgery. While his velocity did not appear to be impacted during his brief run in the majors this year, it’s hard to say what sort of impact the surgery could have on him over a full season. Between his age, the fact that he hasn’t pitched a full season since 2021, and the volatility of relievers in general, there’s a fair bit of risk in offering Green a two-year, $21MM guarantee even as the righty clearly has the potential to be among the better relievers in baseball.
Given that combination of risk and potentially significant reward, the two-year $21MM pact seems like a reasonable price point for both sides of the arrangement. The interesting structure of the contract left MLBTR readers divided in a recent poll, with each of those four possible outcomes (Green hitting free agency and each of the three potential options being picked up) receiving between 20% and 30% of the total vote. That being said, with the Toronto bullpen scheduled to lose Jordan Hicks and Jay Jackson to free agency this offseason, retaining Green gives the club a quality set-up man to pair with Erik Swanson in front of closer Jordan Romano in 2024.