The Blue Jays have released right-hander Jake Petricka, who’d been with the club at its alternate training site. The move, which was first noted on the team’s transactions log at MLB.com, was made in conjunction with the addition of shortstop prospect Orelvis Martinez to Toronto’s 60-man player pool.
Petricka, 32, returned to the Jays organization on a minor league deal this winter. He’d spent the 2018 campaign in Toronto, working to a 4.53 ERA and 4.45 FIP with a 41-to-16 K/BB ratio in 45 2/3 frames. The longtime White Sox reliever has seen big league action in parts of seven Major League seasons, totaling 231 2/3 innings with a 3.96 ERA and fielding-independent marks to match (4.02 FIP, 4.00 xFIP, 3.80 SIERA). Along the way, Petricka has averaged 6.8 K/9, 3.7 BB/9 and 0.7 HR/9 with a whopping 59.1 percent ground-ball rate.
Entering the season, it seemed plausible that the Jays could eventually need to tap into depth options such as Petricka down at the alternate site. Behind closer Ken Giles and veteran Anthony Bass, the Blue Jays looked poised to rely on a host of young and/or unproven arms. Giles went down with an injury after just 1 2/3, ostensibly enhancing their need for veteran ’pen help, but the Blue Jays’ patchwork collection of arms somewhat surprisingly emerged as one of the team’s greatest strengths.
Righties Rafael Dolis, Jordan Romano, A.J. Cole and Thomas Hatch have all posted ERAs south of 2.50. Hard-throwing Julian Merryweather has shown impressive stuff in his early outings, and southpaw starters-turned-relievers Ryan Borucki and Anthony Kay have thrived as well. Overall, Toronto/Buffalo relievers rank third in ERA at 3.27 and sixth with a 3.75 FIP.
The veteran Petricka will now become a free agent who is free to sign with any big league club, although it’s also possible that he’ll wait until the offseason to sign with a new team — as is common with players who are released in September.