- Left-hander Brett Cecil, who was placed on the disabled list Sunday with what was termed a triceps strain, actually has a tear in his lat muscle and will miss “at least a month,” reports Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi. The Blue Jays lefty underwent an MRI earlier this week that revealed the tear. Cecil joined lefties Franklin Morales and Aaron Loup on the DL earlier this week, leaving the Jays with Chad Girodo and Pat Venditte as their primary left-handed options at the big league level. While this is solely my speculation, the Jays could take a look at one of Neal Cotts or Joe Beimel, each of whom hit the open market this week — Cotts after opting out of a minors deal with the Angels and Beimel after his previously reported agreement with the Marlins was ultimately not finalized.
- Though he’s spent almost the entirety of the season on the DL, Franklin Morales is now guaranteed $2MM from the Blue Jays, as Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca explains in a tweet. The southpaw’s advance consent date has passed without action, so Toronto can no longer avoid the rest of the contract by cutting him loose.
The Samsung Lions of the Korea Baseball Organization have acquired right-hander Arnold Leon. Dan Kurtz of MyKBO.net noted on Twitter that a move was in the works, and it’s since been announced by the team (via Yonhap News).
Leon, 27, had been pitching for the Blue Jays’ organization, which acquired him from the A’s for cash over the winter. He provided Oakland with 26 2/3 frames of 4.39 ERA ball last year, and had surrendered two earned runs in 2 1/3 MLB innings in 2016. Since being outrighted off of the 40-man, Leon has thrived in limited action at Triple-A Buffalo, where he’s allowed just three earned in a dozen frames with 16 strikeouts against just two walks.
It’s not clear what kind of release fee was negotiated, but it seems likely that Toronto received some compensation. Leon, meanwhile, will earn $500K in Korea, which he’s only have been able to take down in the majors if he stayed up all year. He is said to be Samsung’s replacement for Collin Balester, who was released after early struggles.
1:10pm: The Blue Jays and Orioles have both announced the claim. In a full column on the move, Kubatko offers the following quote from Duquette about Toronto’s claim of Paredes:
“The O’s tried but we just didn’t find a fit for Jimmy Paredes on this year’s team when it was time for him to be reinstated. Jimmy worked hard with us and we appreciate his contributions over the past two seasons.”
12:21pm: The Blue Jays have claimed infielder/designated hitter Jimmy Paredes off waivers from the Orioles, reports Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com (via Twitter). Baltimore placed Paredes on waivers over the weekend.
Paredes, 27, had a big first half for the O’s in 2015, batting .299/.332/.475 with 10 homers in 277 plate appearances. However, he was unable to maintain that production in the second half as his slash line dipped to .216/.252./265 in 107 plate appearances. This season, Paredes has yet to appear in a Major League game, as sprained left wrist caused him to open the season on the disabled list. Paredes batted a combined .309/.377/.471 across three minor league levels on a rehab assignment (77 plate appearances, 19 games), but the Orioles’ offseason additions left him without a clear spot on the roster.
While Paredes has played second base and third base extensively in the minors, the Orioles were skeptical enough of his defense to limit him to just 72 2/3 innings in the field last season. Even as Jonathan Schoop missed time due to injuries last season, Baltimore’s preference was to move first baseman/outfielder Steve Pearce to second base with Paredes DHing, despite the fact that Pearce had never played the position in the Majors or minors. The offseason addition of Pedro Alvarez gives the O’s another option that the club considers to be more or less a strict DH, thus leaving the team without an easy of way of carrying Paredes.
The Blue Jays currently have a bench consisting of backup catcher Josh Thole, fourth outfielder Ezequiel Carrera, backup shortstop/second baseman Darwin Barney and corner infielder Andy Burns. Given the defensive capabilities of Thole, Carrera and Barney, it would seem that Paredes’ best fit on the roster would be to supplant Burns for the fourth bench spot.
The tension that has been building between the Blue Jays and Rangers since last October finally manifested itself Sunday in the form of an all-out brawl (MLB.com video link) between the two clubs. Multiple suspensions are sure to be handed out to members of both teams in the coming days. Of greater concern for the Jays was yet another late-game bullpen meltdown, as a 6-3 lead in the seventh turned into a 7-6 deficit (and the eventual final score) thanks to an Ian Desmond three-run homer off Jesse Chavez. Here’s some more from around the AL East…
- The Blue Jays have found several late-blooming hitters in recent years, and Justin Smoak’s early success has Brendan Kennedy of the Toronto Star wondering if the first baseman could be the latest example. Smoak entered today’s action hitting .314/.448/.500 with three homers over 87 plate appearances, and manager John Gibbons believes a steady everyday role (forced by Chris Colabello’s suspension) could be contributing to Smoak’s hot bat. Smoak was one of the game’s top prospects after being selected 11th overall by Texas in the 2008 draft, though he showed little at the plate over his first six MLB seasons.
- Blue Jays righty Dustin Antolin was almost frustrated enough to walk away from baseball this offseason, Sportsnet.ca’s Shi Davidi writes. An 11th-round pick in 2008, Antolin battled injuries (including Tommy John surgery in 2010) during his long stint in the minors and was unsigned with two weeks remaining before Opening Day. His girlfriend encouraged him to give it one last chance, however, and after re-signing with the Jays, Antolin performed well at Triple-A and has now finally reached the Show after being called up to replace the injured Brett Cecil in Toronto’s bullpen.
History was made Sunday when Yankees right fielder Carlos Beltran slugged his 400th home run, becoming the 54th player to reach the milestone and just the fourth switch hitter to accomplish the feat. Beltran is now in a group with three other switch-hitting baseball luminaries in Mickey Mantle, Eddie Murray and Chipper Jones. Two of those three are already in the Hall of Fame, and the other (Jones) is all but certain to get there eventually. Whether Beltran should join them in Cooperstown is up for debate, but as a 400-homer, 300-steal, 66-fWAR player, he certainly has a legitimate case.
More from around baseball:
- Jim Bowden of SiriusXM has asked a dozen teams whether they’d be interested in acquiring suspended Rockies shortstop Jose Reyes if Colorado were to pick up the remaining money on his contract, and all 12 have passed on the idea (Twitter link). One of those clubs is the Blue Jays, for whom Reyes played from 2013 until midway through last season. General manager Ross Atkins told Bowden on Sunday that Toronto has no interest in Reyes (Twitter link), who would likely have difficulty finding playing time on a team with Troy Tulowitzki at short and second baseman Devon Travis nearing a return from offseason shoulder surgery.
- Although no one Bowden has spoken with wants any part of Reyes, who is serving a suspension through May 31 because of a violation of the league’s domestic violence policy, a National League executive told John Perrotto of Today’s Knuckleball that he expects the 32-year-old to get another opportunity. “While I don’t condone what he did, he had a good reputation of being a good guy and a good teammate to that point,” said the executive. “I’m sure whoever take a chance on him is going to let him know right up front that there will be a zero-tolerance policy. One misstep and he’s gone.” Also of importance: Commissioner Rob Manfred wanted to give Reyes a longer suspension than the 52-game ban he settled on, but there wasn’t enough evidence to levy a harsher punishment, a source told Perrotto.
The Blue Jays have placed southpaw reliever Brett Cecil on the 15-day disabled list with a left triceps strain, according to a team announcement. In a corresponding move, Toronto recalled right-hander Dustin Antolin from Triple-A Buffalo.
This injury is the latest to go wrong in 2016 for Cecil, who said he felt “tender” after throwing 2/3 of an inning Saturday in the Blue Jays’ 6-5 loss to the Rangers. Cecil has allowed six earned runs on 17 hits in 10 1/3 innings this season, and his strikeout rate and velocity have both trended in discouraging directions. Cecil was expected to continue serving as a shutdown option for Toronto after posting a 2.67 ERA, 11.55 K/9 and 3.37 BB/9 over 168 1/3 combined innings from 2013-15. He has instead joined right-hander Drew Storen as one of the two biggest disappointments in Toronto’s bullpen.
Antolin, whom the Jays chose in the 11th round of the 2008 draft, could finally step on a major league mound for the first time. The 26-year-old has earned his first Triple-A experience this year, throwing 19 innings with a 2.84 ERA to accompany an 11.37 K/9 and 5.21 BB/9. Antolin throws a mid-90s fastball and recently emerged as Buffalo’s closer, tweets Ben Wagner of ESPN 1520. All told, Antolin owns a 4.38 ERA, 8.8 K/9 and 4.0 BB/9 in 363 1/3 career minor league frames.
- Blue Jays first baseman/designated hitter Chris Colabello and Phillies reliever Daniel Stumpf both received 80-game suspensions in April after testing positive for performance-enhancing drugs, and the two remain confused as to how PEDs entered their respective systems, writes Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. Colabello’s agent, Brian Charles, organized a conference call earlier this week with doctors, scientists and molecular biologists, all of whom are experts on steroid testing, as he tries to get to the bottom of his client’s positive test. Colabello, Stumpf and ex-UFC heavyweight champion Frank Mir also partook in the call. All three tested positive for the banned anabolic steroid Turinabol, and each is without an answer as to how. The players association finds the cases of Colabello and Stumpf “puzzling,” sources tell Rosenthal. “The part that scares me the most is that I don’t know what to change for this not to happen again,” stated Stumpf, who said he only takes fish oil and doctor-prescribed medication. “It’s killing me,” added Colabello. “Everything I do in my life is thought out with careful attention and detail. I don’t do irresponsible things because I never want to make a mistake that could cost me my career.”
- The Blue Jays, meanwhile, now have reason to believe that second baseman Devon Travis will soon be back. Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.ca tweets that Travis is heading out on a rehab assignment, which will begin a maximum twenty-day stretch in the minors. So long as Travis progresses, he ought to be back in Toronto by early June, it would appear. The 25-year-old burst onto the scene early last year, but he hasn’t played since late July after undergoing a procedure on his left shoulder.
Blue Jays left-hander Franklin Morales is just eight days from accumulating 45 days on the club’s roster, at which point the entirety of his $2MM salary becomes guaranteed, tweets Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith. (Morales’ contract contains a 45-day advance consent clause — a common provision which MLBTR’s Zach Links explored at length in Spring Training 2014.) However, Morales is currently on the disabled list and has yet to begin a rehab assignment, meaning there’s virtually no way he’ll be activated by that time. While the Blue Jays could’ve cut loose a healthy Morales within a 45-day window and not had to pay his entire salary, advance consent clauses also prohibit teams from terminating the salary of injured players. As such, Morales is effectively guaranteed to receive all of that $2MM sum. Of course, if Morales pitches as well as he did with the Royals in 2015 upon activation from the DL, the Jays won’t mind that salary.