Is Brian Tallet better as a Starter or Reliever?

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Brian Tallet is the proverbial Swiss Army Knife of the Blue Jays pitching staff. He can toss a couple of innings of solid relief, take over for a struggling starter in the long relief role, or step in as a dependable arm in the starting rotation.

Tallet has spent most of his major league stint as a relief pitcher, but he actually began his career as a starter with the Indians. Since then, he has bounced back and forth between the rotation and the bullpen, most recently settling in as one of the candidates for the Blue Jays starting rotation.

Now we stand at a crossroads – either Tallet makes his way onto the 25 man roster as a starting pitcher, or a reliever. So it begs the question – is Brian Tallet better as a starter or reliever?


The answer might surprise you.

IP ERA BB/9 K/9 HR/9
Starter (Career) 167.8 4.99 4.13 6.17 0.97
Reliever (Career) 197.8 3.78 4.14 7.23 0.73

Honestly, I was expecting Tallet’s numbers as a starter to be through the roof after last season. It was no surprise that he had some control problems and also had a tendency to give up quite a few long balls.

However, if you average things out, Brian Tallet is more effective as a reliever … but not by much.

Aside from his ERA being a full run higher as a starting pitcher, Tallet’s career statistics are very similar whether he was starting the game or throwing from the ‘pen.

Prior to Brett Cecil’s “kitchen-type incident”, personally I would much rather have Brian Tallet break camp as a relief pitcher rather than one of the starting five. Now that plans have suddenly changed, it looks like Tallet is the odds-on favourite to snag the fifth spot in the starting rotation.

That being said, I think that Tallet is still best served in the bullpen. With so many young hurlers on the mound, he’s probably going to rack up a ton of relief innings anyway.

Why not give the chance to somebody like Dana Eveland or maybe even Lance Broadway? If Dustin McGowan isn’t ready by the time Opening Day rolls around, there are plenty of other guys that could easily occupy the fifth starter’s spot.

It’s not like the Blue Jays don’t have anything to lose … except for more games.

Ian Hunter

Ian has been writing about the Toronto Blue Jays since 2007. He enjoyed the tail-end of the Roy Halladay era and vividly remembers the Alex Rodriguez "mine" incident. He'll also retell the story of Game 5 of the 2015 ALDS to his kids for the next 20 years.

6 thoughts on “Is Brian Tallet better as a Starter or Reliever?

  • March 11, 2010 at 8:07 pm

    Tallet is current Jays version of John Cerutti. Put him where you need him the most, and this year, it will be long relief.

  • March 11, 2010 at 9:29 pm

    I certainly hope so, Peter. Keep Tallet in the 'pen, he's going to get lots of work this year regardless.

  • March 12, 2010 at 5:16 am

    One thing I just thought of… Last year Tallet was at his best at the beginning of the year when starting, and got worse as the year progressed. If we assume that was because he tired, then perhaps starting him in the rotation for April, before bring up Mcgowan for May, then perhaps you get Tallets better half?

  • March 12, 2010 at 3:37 pm

    Nick, I found a couple of good photos of Tallet, and will be posting them next week with the Inverted W article.

    I also figured that Tallet's injury was due to the sudden increase in innings pitched. Simply put, his arm was tired – but the Inverted W didn't help.

  • March 14, 2010 at 4:34 am

    I'd love to see Eveland as the fifth starter. But, would the lack of starts for him in April do more harm than good? And then what happens when McGowan/Cecil gets called up?

  • March 14, 2010 at 6:53 pm

    It's quite the conundrum – whoever ends up being the fifth start will only tentatively start three games in April.

    As for Cecil and McGowan – they would have to be fairly confident McGowan can spend the year with the Jays if they add him to the roster, because he doesn't have any more options and they can't send him back down to Triple A.

    It wouldn't hurt to have Cecil spent some time down in Vegas too – there's no rush to bring him back.

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