TODAY: McGuire and Valera have both cleared DFA waivers and been outrighted to the Blue Jays’ alternate training site, as per a team announcement.
APRIL 1: The Blue Jays announced Thursday morning that catcher Reese McGuire and infielder Breyvic Valera have been designated for assignment. Their roster spots will go to infielder Joe Panik and lefty Tim Mayza, whose contracts have formally been selected.
McGuire, 26, was the 14th overall pick by the Pirates back in 2013 and came to the Jays by way of the 2016 Francisco Liriano trade. The longtime top prospect hit well in 2018-19 (.297/.343/.539, seven homers in 138 plate appearances) before his bat fell off a cliff in 2020 (.073/.073/.146 in 45 plate appearances). That downturn in production, a bizarre and troubling Feb. 2020 arrest, and the breakout of fellow catcher Alejandro Kirk all combined to spell the end of McGuire’s days on Toronto’s 40-man roster.
Valera, meanwhile, has bounced around the league via the waiver wire for the past couple seasons. The Jays have claimed the versatile switch-hitter twice in that time, but he’s still only appeared in five games with the club. The 29-year-old Valera is a career .223/.294/.298 hitter in a small sample of 138 plate appearances, but he carries a much more appealing .302/.374/.442 line through 1550 plate appearances at the Triple-A level.
The Jays told Panik that he’d made the roster last week, marking the second straight season that he’s cracked their big league club after inking a minor league pact in the offseason. Mayza, 29, pitched 104 innings with the Jays from 2017-19 but missed the 2020 season due to Tommy John surgery that he underwent in Sept. 2019. He’s healthy now and rattled off 6 2/3 shutout innings during Spring Training, yielding just one hit and two walks with six punchouts along the way.