The Blue Jays announced their Opening Day, 30-man roster this morning. Left-hander Brian Moran and right-hander A.J. Cole were both selected to the 40-man roster and will make the club. Toronto also placed righty Chase Anderson on the 10-day IL (retroactive to July 20) with an oblique strain and opted to carry infielder Santiago Espinal, lefty Anthony Kay and right-handers Thomas Hatch and Jacob Waguespack.
Notably absent is right-hander Nate Pearson, one of the game’s elite pitching prospects. He’s on the team’s three-man taxi squad (along with southpaw Ryan Borucki and catcher Caleb Joseph) but won’t accrue service time in that role. He’ll reportedly be called up next week, when the Jays will be able to promote him while extending their club control of him for an additional season (as has long been expected).
Moran, 31, is the older brother of Pirates third baseman Colin Moran. He made his big league debut at 30 years of age with the Marlins last season, pitching 6 1/3 innings while yielding three runs with a 10-to-2 K/BB ratio. A seventh-round pick in 2009, Moran has had quite the odyssey to the Majors, twice taking to the independent circuit as a showcase to get back into affiliated ball. But he carries a career 3.67 ERA with 11.5 K/9 against 3.2 BB/9 in 176 1/3 Triple-A frames and will now get his second opportunity in the Majors.
Cole, 28, is a former top prospect who’s yet to find his footing despite multiple MLB chances. He’s seen action with three teams in parts of five seasons but posted a pedestrian 4.86 ERA and 5.03 FIP in 174 innings. Cole had some success both with the Nats in 2017 and the Indians last year, logging identical 3.81 ERAs in both years. He’s averaged better than a strikeout per frame in the big leagues but has also surrendered an average of 1.8 homers per nine innings pitched.
The Jays don’t need to make any corresponding transactions to add Moran and Cole to the 40-man. The team recently placed Breyvic Valera on the restricted list after he was unable to leave his native Venezuela and report to Jays Summer Camp in Toronto. The club also has Brandon Drury, Jonathan Davis, Wilmer Font and Elvis Luciano on the Covid-19 IL, and none of the four will count against the team’s 40-man roster while on that list.