The Blue Jays have designated right-hander Tanner Roark for assignment, Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet was among those to report. They reinstated outfielder Teoscar Hernandez from the COVID-19 injured list and optioned fellow outfielder Jonathan Davis in corresponding moves.
This certainly isn’t the outcome Toronto expected when it signed Roark to a two-year, $24MM guarantee entering the 2020 season, but the deal will go down as a major mistake for the club. When the former National and Red joined the Blue Jays, he had five seasons of 165-plus innings on his resume and was at least a useful back-of-the-rotation starter. But Roark has been a liability as a member of the Jays, with whom he has recorded a horrific 6.75 ERA/5.26 SIERA with an 18.3 percent strikeout percentage and a 10.0 walk percentage in 54 2/3 innings. The 34-year-old has also seen his average fastball drop from the 92 mph range to below 91 since he signed with Toronto.
Roark threw just seven innings and made one start over three appearances this year for Toronto, and that small workload is damning when considering the injuries the team has dealt with in its rotation. The Jays will now have a week to trade Roark, pass him through waivers or release him. It seems likely they’ll wind up releasing Roark, who carries no appeal on a $12MM salary.
Hernandez, who hasn’t played since April 8, tested positive for COVID on April 13. He went an underwhelming 6-for-29 (five singles and a home run) with 14 strikeouts against no walks before going on the IL, though Hernandez was one of the majors’ top hitters a season ago. The Blue Jays have gone without Hernandez and center fielder/designated hitter George Springer for the vast majority of the season, but both are now back in their lineup.