Drafted and signed by the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2010, Mike Bolsinger spent three years in the Minors before reaching the majors in 2014. After an unsuccessful initial big league campaign, Arizona traded Bolsinger to the Los Angeles Dodgers for cash considerations in November 2014.
Bolsinger ended up making 21 starts and posted a 3.62 ERA for Los Angeles in 2015. Coming into the 2016 season, it again seemed as though he would bail out a beleaguered Dodgers rotation.
While Bolsinger was expected to be the team’s No. 5 starter coming out of Spring Training, an oblique strain ended up sidelining the right-hander for nearly a month and a half before he made his season debut on May 18.
He allowed three runs in 4.1 innings and was optioned back to Triple-A Oklahoma City. Bolsinger
didn’t spend much time in OKC though, as he was recalled for his next turn in the rotation, going 5.2 innings while allowing just a pair of runs against the Cincinnati Reds.
Bolsinger’s third start was his best of the season, holding the Chicago Cubs to two runs in five innings. Unfortunately, things went south from there. In his next three starts, Bolsinger allowed a total of 14 runs in 12.2 innings before being sent down to Triple-A.
With OKC, he worked exclusively out of the bullpen, never pitching more than three innings in a game. However, Bolsinger did find a modicum of success, posting a 3.86 ERA in 21 innings over that span.
Then the trade deadline came, and Bolsinger was sent to the Toronto Blue Jays in exchange for right-handed reliever Jesse Chavez. The Blue Jays sent Bolsinger to Triple-A, where he went back to starting.
His final start of the season was his best, going five scoreless innings. But it couldn’t make up for the previous five starts, leading to a 6.04 ERA with Buffalo. The Blue Jays didn’t call up the 28-year-old when active rosters expanded in September.
Holding the Cubs, who finished with the best record in the Majors, to just two runs had to leave Bolsinger feeling optimistic despite suffering a tough-luck loss to Jon Lester. Particularly when taking into account the outing came on the road.
Bolsinger finds himself in a precarious situation. On one hand, he’s under team control through at least 2019 and should be cheap. On the other hand, Toronto’s refusal to bring him up in September casts doubt on his future with the Blue Jays.
What’s more, Bolsinger is out of options, so if he doesn’t stick with the team next year, he’ll need to be placed on waivers. Where Bolsinger pitches next season is anyone’s guess.
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