The Blue Jays announced they’ve reinstated catcher Alejandro Kirk from the 60-day injured list and optioned him to Triple-A Buffalo. To clear space on the 40-man roster, Toronto designated right-hander T.J. Zeuch for assignment.
The move might bring an end to Zeuch’s tenure with the Jays, who selected him in the first round of the 2016 draft. The big righty has made thirteen appearances (seven starts) with Toronto over the past three seasons, working to a 4.59 ERA across 49 innings. Zeuch has induced grounders on over half the balls put in play against him, but he’s struggled to miss bats at the big league level. The 25-year-old has only managed a 14.1% strikeout rate, while walking an elevated 10.9% of opponents.
Zeuch has spent the bulk of the year at Triple-A, posting a 4.03 ERA in 58 innings. His production there isn’t all that dissimilar from what he’s managed in the majors. Zeuch has racked up grounders (50.5%) but hasn’t struck out many batters (16.6%). To his credit, the 25-year-old has been better at throwing strikes in Triple-A, doling out free passes to just 5.1% of batters faced.
The Jays will have a week to trade Zeuch or expose him to waivers. It wouldn’t at all be surprising to see another club acquire him in the coming days. Zeuch has a strong minor league track record, and he’s shown the ability to carry his groundball tendencies over to the highest level. He also comes with an additional option year beyond this season. Any club that acquires Zeuch could keep him in the high minors through the end of 2022 so long as he sticks on the 40-man roster.
Kirk, one of baseball’s top catching prospects, has been out since early May with a left hip flexor strain. He’s hit very well in limited big league time to date, but the Jays will stick with the more experienced duo of Reese McGuire and Danny Jansen behind the plate for now.