The Blue Jays announced this afternoon they’ve passed reliever A.J. Cole through waivers and assigned him outright to Triple-A Buffalo. Cole has previously been outrighted in his career, so he’ll have the right to elect free agency.
Cole logged 23 1/3 innings for the Jays last season, posting a 3.09 ERA but shakier peripherals. He was non-tendered over the winter but returned to the organization on a minor league deal. Selected to the big league roster in early May, Cole worked eight innings of one-run ball with seven strikeouts and just one walk. He landed on the 10-day injured list with neck tightness in early June, then suffered a left oblique strain that caused him to be shifted to the 60-day IL.
Nearing a return from those injuries, Cole began a minor league rehab assignment on August 11. Pitchers are allotted thirty days on rehab, and with Cole’s window dwindling, the Jays had to decide whether to bring him back. Rather than reinstall Cole to the active and 40-man rosters, Toronto elected to place him on waivers.
Cole has also appeared with the Nationals, Yankees and Indians over parts of seven big league seasons. Overall, the 29-year-old owns a 4.51 ERA/4.25 SIERA in 205 1/3 innings. Even if Cole accepts this outright assignment, he’d qualify for minor league free agency this winter if the Jays don’t add him back to the 40-man roster by the end of the season.