AUGUST 21: The bone in Jay’s forearm has fully healed and he could return by the first week of September, Padres manager Andy Green said Sunday (Twitter link via AJ Cassavell of MLB.com).
AUGUST 16, 10:06pm: Jay’s imaging results were clean, Lin adds on Twitter, but he still needs to regain sufficient flexibility to move toward a return. It is still possible he could be back by the first week of September, per the report.
8:36pm: Padres outfielder Jon Jay didn’t receive the news he hoped for when his fractured right forearm was examined today, as Dennis Lin of the San Diego Union-Tribune reports on Twitter. When he was placed on the DL, the hope was that Jay might be back by this point. But after a CT scan and consultation, Jay was not cleared to hit, making mid-September a more realistic target for his return.
While a slight delay in a rehab timeline for a player on an out-of-contention team isn’t generally of much transactional relevance, Jay’s situation is somewhat different. The Padres have been perhaps the most aggressive seller in baseball, and Jay had looked like a solid trade asset — and a nice target for buyers to pursue.
Over his 291 plate appearances on the year, the left-handed-hitting Jay owns a .296/.345/.407 batting line that checks in just above league average. With a solid glove that plays in center, that makes him a useful piece for the right club.
Because he’s now facing continued uncertainty, teams probably won’t be willing to put in a claim on Jay with just over $1.75MM left on his salary. If he clears waivers, he can be dealt freely, but teams may not be willing to give up much of anything when Jay hasn’t even begun swinging the bat. Once the calendar flips to September, though, an acquiring team wouldn’t be able to utilize him on a post-season roster.
Looking beyond the trade market, the downgraded prognosis also represents a blow to Jay’s efforts to boost his free agent stock. The 31-year-old had been on track to draw solid interest as a player who could start or represent a high-quality fourth outfielder. He may still be able to push for a multi-year deal, but without a month or more to lay down more plate appearances after the injury, his market standing will likely be somewhat tamped down.