The Blue Jays have made several 40-man roster moves, including designating right-hander Justin Shafer for assignment and outrighting left-hander Tim Mayza to Triple-A Buffalo, the team announced. The club has also added infielder Santiago Espinal and righty Tom Hatch to its 40-man, as Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet first reported.
The 27-year-old Shafer has been a member of the Toronto organization since it used an eighth-round pick on him in 2014. Shafer has produced good results at the major league level since then, evidenced by his 3.75 ERA over 48 innings, though a subpar 1.28 K/BB had helped lead to a 5.52 FIP/6.00 xFIP in the bigs.
Booting Mayza from the 40-man may be the most notable move here, as the 27-year-old was a major part of the Blue Jays’ bullpen in 2019. A 12th-rounder of the Jays in 2013, Mayza amassed 51 1/3 innings in 2019 – the fourth-highest total among the team’s relievers – with a 4.91 ERA/4.73 FIP and 9.64 K/9 against 4.73 BB/9 before suffering a gruesome, season-ending arm injury in the first half of September. Mayza will miss all of 2020 as a result, so it’s no surprise Toronto doesn’t want to dedicate a 40-man spot to him next year.
The 25-year-old Espinal joined the Blue Jays in June 2018 in their return from Boston for infielder Steve Pearce, who went on to win World Series MVP honors that year. Espinal was a 10th-rounder of the Red Sox in 2016 who got to the Triple-A level for the first time in 2019 and batted .317/.360/.433 in 112 plate appearances. Meanwhile, Hatch – also 25 – went to Toronto in its deal with the Cubs for reliever David Phelps last July. He currently ranks as the Jays’ 30th-best prospect at MLB.com, having thrown 135 1/3 innings of 4.12 ERA ball with 8.4 K/9 against 2.6 BB/9 at the Double-A level between the two organizations in 2019.
Hatch is a bit underrated id say. perhaps not a high ceiling, but he may be able to be a workhorse 5th starter for Toronto.
I don’t think Jays fans are under-rating him, it’s just his profile of “maybe a back of rotation guy” isn’t exactly sexy and Toronto has a ton of those guys already. To some degree his best position and ceiling is the same as Borucki, Thornton, Waguespack, Kay, Zeuch, Reid-Foley, Perez & Diaz. It’s difficult to get excited about an OK player when you’ve got ten of them already.
Down with OBP
It’s hard to say someone is “underrated” if a team is burning a 40 man roster spot on him.
Agreed. And they’re burning spots on overrated players like Drury, McKinney, Fisher, Valera, Pannone and Merryweather for no reason. No competitive team would roster any of these players.
Fisher was in AAA when the trade was made. Had been in AAA for weeks. Being on the 40-man does not mean he’s better than other position players in his organization who aren’t. Vlad wasn’t on the 40-man when he was the #1 prospect in baseball.
Not really any surprises. I wouldn’t have minded seeing one of Snead or Bergen protected since Mayza’s gone for the year but I’d doubt either will be picked up.
The other 29 major league teams already had a chance to claim Bergen off waivers.
Please Mets claim Shaffer(if he gets to us). Also I went to 4 Bisons games this year and Santiago Espinal hit home runs in 2 of them
Jays could have booted Merryweather, Fisher, Maile, Law, Pannone, and Davis….too.
I think Merryweather being the return for Donaldson played a part in his staying on the 40.
For sure they knew Merryweather was not going to be available until this season for the big club, I think they thought he might have got more innings in last season in the minors but Tommy john recovery is what it is! based on his showing in the AFL I am betting he has a really strong showing in AAA this season and gets a Sept call up
Merryweather was hitting 99-100 in the minors so he is staying put. With you on Maile, Davis, Law…not sure on Pannone.
I’m really surprised they released Justin Shafer. 2-1 with a 3.86 ERA in 39 2/3 innings with 39 Ks and a 0.4 bWAR.
Why not 25-year old Thomas Pannone and his 3-6 record with a 6.16 ERA (5.43 for his career) and a -0.3 bWAR, i.e. worse than any potential replacement?
Pannone couldn’t hit 90 on the gun even if he was still on PEDs (remember he was suspended for 80 games in 2018 after testing positive for DHCMT, also is known as Turinabol, a drug used by East German athletes in the 1960s). The rest of his stuff is slow and slower, but he’s no Mike Flanagan.
With the rule change to relievers facing a minimum of three batters, the case for a situational lefty in the pen is also not a reason to keep him.
My guess is Pannone’s only on the 40-man because he’s one of Atkins “guys”, acquired from his old organization in the Joe Smith trade when the Jays started their tear down at the 2017 July TDL. Even if he was released, he wouldn’t be picked up by any competitive organization.
Shafer’s crime? Being drafted by Anthopoulos in 2014.
Merryweather was also hitting bat barrels when he wasn’t unintentionally walking guys.
Pannone’s a lefty who can pitch in long relief, so I am thinking that is why he is still with the team, but that could change depending on who is acquired before ST’ing. there will be a lot more movement with the 40 man before the start of the season!
Not sure why Law (or Romano or Pannone) beat out Shafer. Then there is the 4 utility player log jam with Brevic, Urena, Espinal and Drury (probably gotta drop Urena or Drury) and the OF logjam of below replacement level players with Mckinney, Davis, FIsher, Alford and to a lessor extent Teoscar.
My thoughts are that Shapiro and Atrkins only like “their guys”. They are way to proud to DFA Mckinney, Drury, FIsher or Law as they traded for them and Alford and Davis will likely be the next to be dropped as they are still AA’s guys.
Romano has an electric arm he’s young and Montoyo is really high on the kid. Lots of the coaches say he has closer kind of stuff I expect him to be a big part of the bullpen if he continues to develop
Romano went unprotected last year and was picked. Blue Jays weren’t high on him until Montoya and the coaching staff had his back. Romano was not highly thought of by the organization.
Between Brevic, Drury, Urena and Espinosa, I think Espinal has the highest upside.
So sad that they play favorites with their “guys” regardless of how little talent they have… Merryweather, Drury, McKinney, Law, Valera and Fisher all could have been dropped and no competitive team would pick them up. Coulda been done under the cover of the Mike Babcock firing, too, and no one would have even noticed!
Shafer was an AA draft pick. Borucki, Alford and Urena will be the next to go, then SRF, Tellez and Jansen, and eventually Vlad Jr. because he’s an Anthopoulos signing, too.
Although Shafer enjoys playing with fire sometimes, I thought he was going to be part of the 12 bullpen arms. By no means was he a stone cold lock.
However, Law could have been dropped. Valera should have been dropped with Espinal added. Maybe Shafer jumps to another team and performs well.
Hopefully the Jays will add a few ML caliber pitchers, starters and relievers, and several of Fisher, McKinney, Law and others get traded or, more likely, DFA.