It’ll be a reunion for the two parties, as Biagini made his big league debut with the 2016 Jays after being selected out of the Giants organization in the 2015 Rule 5 Draft. He turned in an outstanding rookie season in Toronto, tossing 67 2/3 innings of 3.06 ERA ball with an even better 2.95 FIP mark. A move to the rotation the following season proved to be a misstep, however, as Biagini was torched for a 5.73 ERA in 18 starts (as compared to a 4.16 mark in 31 2/3 innings of bullpen work that year). The experiment continued early in the 2018 season, but Biagini returned to the ’pen after just four starts and struggled his way through the remainder of the season.
A return to the ’pen as a full-time reliever in 2019 brought about much better results — albeit not quite to the extent of his excellent rookie campaign. In 50 innings of bullpen work with Toronto, the Biagini notched a 3.78 ERA with 50 strikeouts against 17 walks. The Jays, still in the final stages of a rebuilding effort, flipped Biagini to the Astros alongside righty Aaron Sanchez at the 2019 trade deadline — a deal that brought Derek Fisher back to Toronto.
That swap didn’t work out for either party, as Biagini wound up pitching just 19 innings for the ’Stros over the next two seasons while serving up a staggering 22 runs. Sanchez quickly went down with a shoulder injury and only wound up pitching 18 2/3 frames in Houston himself. Fisher spent parts of two seasons in Toronto and batted just .177/.295/.395 before being cut loose.
Biagini spent the 2021 season in the Cubs organization, where they again worked him primarily as a starting pitcher with their Triple-A affiliate. In 91 2/3 frames, the right-hander posted a 5.50 ERA. He appeared in one big league game late in the season as a Covid replacement player for the Cubs, picking up a win after pitching three scoreless innings of relief. He was removed from the 40-man roster thereafter and, as such, eligible to sign a minor league deal even amid the ongoing lockout.
All told, Biagini has a 5.03 ERA in 331 1/3 big league innings, though his struggles as a starter skew the numbers a bit. Biagini has a lifetime 6.08 ERA out of the rotation compared to a more palatable (albeit pedestrian) 4.53 ERA as a reliever. He’s been better than average in terms of limiting hard contact and barreled balls, per Statcast, and Biagini also possesses elite spin rate on a curveball that has been an effective pitch for him — alongside a similarly strong changeup. He’s tried out a four-seamer, sinker and cut fastball throughout his big league career, and all three (particularly the sinker) have been hit hard.
Right-hander Jordan Romano has emerged as the clear top reliever in the Toronto bullpen, and he’ll be joined by returning names such as Trevor Richards, Adam Cimber and Tim Mayza — as well as offseason signee Yimi Garcia. The Jays are expected to continue seeking bullpen help after the lockout, but Biagini’s experience and familiarity with the organization could eventually earn him an opportunity if he shows well either in camp or in Triple-A.