The Blue Jays have announced to reporters, including Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet, that they have acquired left-handed pitcher Anthony Banda from the Pirates for cash considerations. Banda had been designated for assignment earlier this week. Julian Merryweather was transferred to the 60-day IL in order to create space on the 40-man roster for Banda.
With Toronto missing several relievers on the injured list, Banda’s acquisition adds some bullpen depth, and Banda could possibly position himself for regular work even when everyone is healthy. Tim Mayza is the top left-hander in the Jays’ bullpen, with Taylor Saucedo and rookies Matt Gage and Andrew Vasquez getting some looks as the second southpaw in the relief corps (Saucedo and Vazquez are two of the pitchers on the IL).
It has been a tough and perhaps simply unlucky season for Banda, who has a 6.41 ERA over 19 2/3 innings with the Pirates in 2022. Banda’s SIERA is a much more respectable 3.47, as a whopping .463 BABIP indicates that despite his success at limiting hard contact, a lot of Banda’s balls in play are turning into hits. Banda also has an impressive 5.1% walk rate.
The 28-year-old is no stranger to the AL East, having pitched with the Rays from 2018-20. A noted prospect back during his time in the Diamondbacks’ farm system, Banda spent the bulk of his time in Tampa recovering from Tommy John surgery, and he has yet to truly establish himself in the majors. The southpaw’s 33 2/3 innings in 2021 marked his career high, as Banda had a 4.28 ERA with the Mets and Pirates.