The Blue Jays announced Tuesday that they’ve designated first baseman Daniel Vogelbach, infielder/outfielder Brandon Drury and right-hander Sam Gaviglio for assignment. The DFAs open roster space for lefty Robbie Ray, righty Ross Stripling and infielder Jonathan Villar, each of whom were acquired leading up to the trade deadline yesterday.
Vogelbach had a short run on the 40-man roster of the Blue Jays, who acquired him from the Mariners Aug. 23. The 27-year-old rode a hot first half of 2019 to an All-Star nod with Seattle, but his numbers cratered in the second half and haven’t rebounded with either club this season. Vogelbach owns a nightmarish .088/.246/.211 line with two home runs in 69 plate appearances so far.
Drury himself was a deadline pickup by the Jays in 2018, when they sent lefty J.A. Happ to the Yankees. Drury had struggled mightily since being acquired to fill a versatile infield role (likely similar to the one ultimately taken up by DJ LeMahieu). At the time of his trade to Toronto, he was only a half season removed from a two-year stretch that saw him hit .275/.323/.453 with 29 homers, 68 doubles and three triples while logging time at second base, third base, first base and both outfield corners. His 2018 scuffles aside, Drury looked like a solid acquisition.
Obviously, things haven’t played out that way. Drury has now spent parts of three seasons with the Jays and racked up a bit less than a full year’s worth of playing time without any offensive production to show for it. He’s appeared in 149 games and tallied 525 plate appearances with just a .208/.253/.353 slash to show for it. He’s arbitration-eligible this winter and was a surefire non-tender given his lack of production, so it’s not a surprise to see him cut from the roster early. Another club could technically claim Drury, but to do so they’d need to assume the remaining $298K on this year’s prorated salary. For a player who is hitting .152/.184/.174 through 49 plate appearances — that seems highly improbable.
The likeliest outcome, then, is that the Jays will either run Drury through outright waivers or simply opt to release him. If he does pass through outright waivers, he can be outrighted to the club’s alternate training site and remain on hand as a depth piece. He’d have the right to reject the assignment in favor of free agency, but because he does not yet have five years of MLB service, doing so would mean forfeiting that $298K he is still owed. Again — that seems quite unlikely.
Turning to Gaviglio, he’s been up and down with the Jays dating back to the 2018 season himself, showing some flashes of quality production at times but ultimately posting lackluster numbers. In 222 1/3 frames with the Blue Jays, Gaviglio carries a 5.06 ERA and 4.70 FIP with 7.9 K/9, 2.6 BB/9, 1.58 HR/9 and a 47.6 percent ground-ball rate.