The Blue Jays have acquired right-hander Nick Kingham from the Pirates for cash considerations, as announced by both teams. Ryan Tepera has been shifted to the 60-day injured list to create room on Toronto’s roster.
Kingham was designated for assignment this week, effectively ending almost a full decade in Pittsburgh’s organization for the righty. Kingham was a fourth-round pick in the 2010 draft and has long been considered one of the more promising arms both in the Bucs’ farm system and in baseball as a whole, appearing on top-100 prospect lists prior to both the 2014 and 2015 seasons. Tommy John surgery in 2015 delayed his progress, though he still amassed a 3.46 ERA, 3.17 K/BB rate, and 7.7 K/9 over 766 1/3 career innings in the minors, starting 142 of his 147 games.
As a big-leaguer, Kingham flirted with history when he carried a perfect game into the seventh inning during his MLB debut back on April 29, 2018. Overall, however, Kingham has struggled to find consistency in the Show, posting a 6.67 ERA that has been boosted by 25 homers allowed over 110 2/3 innings, though he has a higher strikeout rate (8.2 K/9) in the majors than in the minors, albeit over a much smaller sample size.
Though the Pirates are far from deep in starting pitching options, it seems like they were simply ready to move on from the 27-year-old Kingham, who now gets a chance on a Blue Jays team that is in even more desperate need of rotation help. The Jays rank at or near the bottom of the league in most starting pitching categories, and will need even more starters on hand to fill the void if/when Marcus Stroman and Aaron Sanchez are both moved before the July 31st trade deadline. Kingham could get a shot in the rotation immediately (which could mean the end of struggling veteran Edwin Jackson’s time in Toronto) or he could throw out of the bullpen as a long man until a trade or until the Jays decide a change needs to be made.