The Blue Jays announced several roster moves on Friday, including the activation of reliever Ken Giles from the 45-day injured list. They also promoted catcher Alejandro Kirk, designated outfielder Billy McKinney and backstop Caleb Joseph, recalled righty Jacob Waguespack and optioned righty Sean Reid-Foley.
Giles made just two appearances this year (on July 24 and 26) before landing on the IL with a right forearm strain. It’s the second consecutive season limited by arm injuries for Giles, but when he’s right, he’s dominant. The 29-year-old was among the league’s best relievers last season, when he threw 53 innings and registered a 1.87 ERA/2.27 FIP with 14.09 K/9, 2.89 BB/9 and 23 saves in 24 chances. Giles’ production didn’t help lead to contention for the Jays then, but they’re 24-19 this season and in possession of a playoff spot. Therefore, if Giles is able to revisit his 2019 form, he could be an enormous down-the-stretch addition for Toronto.
Kirk, 21, has done nothing but hit in the minors over the past couple years. Even though he only reached the High-A level before this promotion, Kirk should be in line to at least back up Danny Jansen right now. He ranks as one of the top Blue Jays prospects at Baseball America (No. 5), MLB.com (No. 6) and FanGraphs (No. 6), with BA writing that Kirk “has an innate ability to barrel baseballs consistently, along with a good sense of the strike zone.”
Kirk will take over for Joseph, a former Oriole whom the Blue Jays signed to a minors pact in the offseason. Toronto selected Joseph back on Sept. 5, but it’s now booting the light-hitting 34-year-old from its roster after less than a week.
McKinney, along with the recently outrighted Brandon Drury, was part of the Blue Jays’ return for left-hander J.A. Happ in a deal they made with the Yankees in 2018. McKinney was effective after the Jays picked him up, as he hit .252/.320/.470 with six home runs in 118 plate appearances, but he didn’t come close to that production last year and hasn’t been part of Toronto’s plans this season. The 26-year-old totaled just three PA in 2020 before the Jays designated him.