Toronto Blue Jays – MLB Trade Rumors 2021-05-16T00:05:49Z WordPress Connor Byrne <![CDATA[David Phelps Has “Significant” Lat Strain]]> 2021-05-14T23:18:30Z 2021-05-14T23:18:30Z Blue Jays right-handed reliever David Phelps is dealing with a “significant” lat strain, manager Charlie Montoyo said Friday (via Scott Mitchell of TSN). Montoyo was unable to offer a timeline for Phelps’ return.

Lat strains often lead to lengthy absences for pitchers, and it sounds as if that will be the case for Phelps. The 34-year-old has already gone almost two full weeks without pitching, having most recently taken the mound on May 2.

Phelps, whom the Blue Jays signed for $1.75MM in free agency, delivered outstanding results prior to his placement on the 10-day injured list. Now in his second stint with Toronto (he previously spent time with the club in 2019), Phelps has thrown 8 1/3 innings of two-run ball (one earned) with 15 strikeouts, four walks, eight hits allowed, and four holds. He’s one of seven Blue Jays relievers on the IL, yet the team has still found a way to a 20-16 record.

Anthony Franco <![CDATA[Blue Jays Sign Dilson Herrera]]> 2021-05-10T15:02:10Z 2021-05-10T15:02:10Z The Blue Jays recently signed Dilson Herrera to a minor-league contract (h/t to Chris Hilburn-Trenkle of Baseball America). The utility infielder was assigned to Triple-A Buffalo, where he’s begun the year 2-12 with a double and a triple.

Herrera, once a top prospect in the Mets’ system, broke into the big leagues as a 20-year-old in 2014. He never really got an extended run, either in New York or Cincinnati after his inclusion in the 2016 Jay Bruce deal. Herrera made an extremely brief return to the big leagues last season, appearing in three games with the Orioles. All told, he owns a .199/.290/.386 line in 272 MLB plate appearances.

Obviously, Herrera never lived up to his top prospect billing. He’s still only 27 years old though, and he’s generally been productive at Triple-A (.279/.343/.471) in parts of six seasons. He’ll add some high minors infield depth, alongside fellow former top prospect Christian Colón, to a Jays’ organization that is currently without utilityman Joe Panik due to a calf strain.

TC Zencka <![CDATA[Blue Jays Select A.J. Cole, Move Alejandro Kirk To 60-Day IL]]> 2021-05-09T17:19:16Z 2021-05-09T17:18:03Z MAY 9: Dolis is indeed being placed on the IL to open active roster space for Nate Pearson, who’s getting the start this afternoon, Mitchell tweets.

MAY 8, 4:18 pm: Dolis isn’t yet heading to the injured list, manager Charlie Montoyo told TSN’s Scott Mitchell and other reporters.  Dolis has a Grade 1 calf strain but the team is hopeful that he can recover within a few days.

MAY 8, 3:11 pm: The Blue Jays will place reliever Rafael Dolis on the 10-day injured list after he injured his calf in yesterday’s ballgame. A.J. Cole will be added to the roster, per Ben Wagner of Sportsnet (via Twitter). Ty Tice, meanwhile has been optioned to Triple-A after four appearances, and Alejandro Kirk was moved to the 60-day injured list, per Scott Mitchell of TSN sports (via Twitter).

It seems that the back end of Toronto’s bullpen is a touch snakebit this season. It started with losing free agent signing Kirby Yates to Tommy John surgery, but since the season started, alternative high-leverage options Jordan Romano, Julian Merryweather, and now Dolis have all spent time on the injured list.

Dolis has been a workhorse early on, appearing in 15 of the Blue Jays’ 31 games so far this season. He’s totaled 12 2/3 innings with a 4.26 ERA/4.66 FIP, three saves and a hold. Dolis has been the acting closer of late, though Romano is now back off the injured list and could take on a bigger role in Dolis’ absence.

Cole could also be an option for some high-leverage opportunities, as the 29-year-old has performed well the past couple of seasons. With Toronto in 2020, Cole logged 23 1/3 innings in 24 appearances with a 3.09 ERA/4.31 FIP.

Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Blue Jays Expected To Start Nate Pearson On Sunday]]> 2021-05-08T21:59:47Z 2021-05-08T21:59:47Z Nate Pearson’s 2021 debut is expected to take place in a start against the Astros on Sunday, Blue Jays manager Charlie Montoyo told reporters (including Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith).  For now, the plan is for Pearson to start the game and Anthony Kay will be available in relief if needed, unless Kay is required to pitch tonight.

One of the sport’s top pitching prospects, Pearson posted a 6.00 ERA over 18 innings for Toronto last season while missing some time due to elbow tightness.  Pearson then suffered a Grade 1 groin strain during Spring Training, and while the initial injury was thought to be pretty minor, he then reaggravated the issue in rehab.  After missing so much time in camp, Pearson had to get healthy and then essentially reboot much of his preseason training, though the early returns are promising.  In a start for Triple-A Buffalo earlier this week, the right-hander recorded eight strikeouts while allowing one run on four hits and a walk over 3 2/3 innings.

If Pearson is able to pitch close to his potential, it will be an enormous boost to a Blue Jays team that has been both racked by pitching injuries this season, and is arguably thin on arms even with everyone was at full strength.  Hyun Jin Ryu and Robbie Ray have both looked good in the early going, while Steven Matz has struggled over his last three outings after beginning his Jays tenure with three quality starts.  Tanner Roark has already been released, so if Pearson is able to assume a regular turn in the rotation, that would allow the Jays to move Kay or Ross Stripling into spot starter/swingman/long relief duty.

TC Zencka <![CDATA[Blue Jays Place Joe Panik On Injured List, Recall Rowdy Tellez]]> 2021-05-07T22:57:56Z 2021-05-07T20:46:10Z The Blue Jays have placed infielder Joe Panik on the injured list with a left calf strain, per Scott Mitchell of TSN Sports (via Twitter). Rowdy Tellez will be recalled to take his roster spot.

Panik is in his second season coming off the bench for the Blue Jays. The 30-year-old can play all over the infield, though with a healthy Bo Bichette, Panik’s glovework has been limited mostly to second and third this season. The former All-Star and Gold Glove Award winner owns a .226/.241/.302 triple slash line across 54 plate appearances.

Tellez had a rough start to the season, slashing .183/.222/.267 across 63 plate appearances. If nothing else, Tellez comes back after a short, but effective tune-up in Triple-A. In the first three games of the minor league season, Tellez went 3-for-10 with a pair of doubles, a home run, and three walks against three strikeouts.

Steve Adams <![CDATA[Atkins: Blue Jays Expect Kirk To Miss At Least Four Weeks]]> 2021-05-07T14:06:13Z 2021-05-07T14:05:19Z The Blue Jays will be without catcher Alejandro Kirk for at least the next four weeks after sustaining a hip flexor injury, general manager Ross Atkins announced yesterday while acknowledging that the absence “could be longer” than that (link via the Toronto Star’s Gregor Chisholm). Kirk exited the Blue Jays’ game on May 1 early after apparently sustaining the injury while running down the line after hitting a ball that narrowly went foul. He initially stayed in but was removed innings later and hit the 10-day IL the following day.

Sportsnet’s Ben Wagner reported earlier in the week that Kirk could miss at least six weeks, but the team has publicly put forth a slightly more optimistic timeline. Whether Kirk is sidelined until late May or mid-to-late June, it’s another tough loss for a Jays club that, like so many other teams around the league, has been hit hard by injuries in 2021. Kirk went 0-for-13 to start the season, but his bat has taken off in the 33 plate appearances since. He also impressed down the stretch with a big late showing in 2020 and is currently carrying a stout .281/.352/.516 batting line with four homers and three doubles through his first 71 MLB plate appearances.

With the 22-year-old Kirk sidelined for the foreseeable future, the Jays will entrust catching duties to Danny Jansen and the recently promoted Reese McGuire. Jansen, who turned 26 last month, has been the Blue Jays’ primary backstop for the past couple seasons but has seen his bat decline since a promising rookie showing in 2018. After batting .247/.347/.432 in 95 plate appearances as a rookie, he’s managed only a .188/.275/.336 line through 597 trips to the plate. McGuire hit well in 2018 but went just 3-for-41 last season.

In addition to Kirk, the Jays are without George Springer (quad strain), David Phelps (lat strain), Julian Merryweather (oblique strain) and Kirby Yates (Tommy John surgery). They’ve also already had weeks-long absences for Hyun Jin Ryu (glute strain) and Teoscar Hernandez (Covid-19), although both are now back with the club.

Anthony Franco <![CDATA[Blue Jays Place George Springer On Injured List]]> 2021-05-06T03:59:37Z 2021-05-06T03:59:35Z The Blue Jays are placing George Springer back on the 10-day injured list, retroactive to May 3, with a right quad strain (via Shi Davidi of Sportsnet). The star center fielder reaggravated the same injury that kept him out for almost all of April. It’s unclear how long the team expects him to be sidelined this time around, but Springer was sent for an MRI earlier today, per Gregor Chisholm of the Toronto Star (Twitter link). In a corresponding move, Jonathan Davis has been recalled from Triple-A Buffalo.

It’s tough to imagine a worse start to Springer’s tenure in Toronto. The 31-year-old strained an oblique in Spring Training. On the cusp of returning from that injury, he suffered the aforementioned first quad strain. The quad delayed his regular season debut by a few weeks, and it’s causing him issue yet again.

Altogether, the series of injuries has limited Springer to 18 plate appearances in four games. That’s certainly not what he or the Jays imagined when he signed the offseason’s biggest free agent guarantee (six years, $150MM) over the winter. While Springer went on the IL each season from 2017-19, those absences generally didn’t keep him out long. He tallied 550+ plate appearances every year from 2016-19 and avoided the IL in 2020, playing in 51 of a possible 60 games. Of course, Springer earned that massive contract with an extended run of productivity, hitting .273/.363/.500 (135 wRC+) over his final five seasons with the Astros.

With Springer out for the season’s first month, the Jays turned to Randal Grichuk and Davis to cover center field. Grichuk, who has hit a strong .287/.330/.475, is likely in line for the lion’s share of playing time there yet again. Davis got off to a dreadful start to the year before being optioned after Springer came off the IL last week.

Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Blue Jays Select Reese McGuire, Move Julian Merryweather To 60-Day IL]]> 2021-05-05T23:16:09Z 2021-05-05T23:16:09Z The Blue Jays have selected the contract of catcher Reese McGuire and moved right-handed reliever Julian Merryweather to the 60-day injured list in a corresponding move, Shi Davidi of Sportsnet was among those to report. The team also optioned catcher Riley Adams to Triple-A Buffalo.

McGuire – whom Toronto acquired from Pittsburgh in 2016 – impressed earlier in his major league career, hitting an eyebrow-raising .297/.343/.539 with seven home runs in 138 plate appearances from 2018-19. But 2020 didn’t go well off or on the field for McGuire, who was arrested prior to the season and then proceeded to hit a terrible .073/.073/.146 over 45 plate appearances. The Blue Jays outrighted McGuire off their 40-man roster last month, but he’s now back with a team that’s looking for help behind the plate. Danny Jansen has posted horrid production so far this year, while Alejandro Kirk will be out for the foreseeable future with a left flexor strain.

Merryweather went on the IL on April 14 with a left oblique strain, and his shift to the 60-day version means he won’t return until at least the middle of June. The hard-throwing 29-year-old served as a bright spot for Toronto’s bullpen in the early going this season, as he put up 4 1/3 innings of scoreless, one-hit ball with seven strikeouts, a walk and two saves.

Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Tanner Roark Clears Waivers, Becomes Free Agent]]> 2021-05-05T22:49:46Z 2021-05-05T22:49:46Z Right-hander Tanner Roark has cleared waivers and become a free agent, Scott Mitchell of TSN tweets. The Blue Jays designated Roark for assignment last week.

It’s no surprise that the 34-year-old Roark is heading to the open market, as there was no expectation he’d be traded or claimed because of his $12MM salary. On the heels of a solid several seasons divided among the Nationals, Reds and Athletics, Roark signed a two-year, $24MM deal with the Blue Jays going into 2020, but the move went south in a hurry for the club. Roark posted a 6.80 ERA in 47 2/3 innings last year, and despite the Jays’ injury troubles this season, he barely factored into their rotation. Roark tossed seven frames over three appearances (one start) and gave up five earned runs before the Jays cut the cord on him.

Roark boasted a respectable track record before signing with Toronto, so the likelihood is that he’ll find a different team soon. However, this trip to free agency won’t be nearly as lucrative as Roark’s previous one. He may have to settle for a minor league contract.

Steve Adams <![CDATA[Blue Jays Moving Home Games To Buffalo Beginning June 1]]> 2021-05-05T14:45:17Z 2021-05-05T14:45:17Z The Blue Jays have spent the first month-plus of the 2021 season playing their home games at their Spring Training facility in Dunedin, Fla., but the team announced Wednesday that beginning June 1, they’ll move their home games to Buffalo’s Sahlen Field — the home of their Triple-A affiliate and the site of last summer’s home games. Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi reported on the move back to Buffalo shortly before the Jays made the formal announcement.

Per the announcement, the Blue Jays are in the process of a renovation project at Sahlen Field in order to prepare the facility for compliance with health-and-safety protocols associated with the return of fans. There are also updates being made to the field of play itself and the facilities, which include moving the bullpens off the field and behind the outfield walls, installing new batting cages beyond the right field wall, re-sodding the outfield grass, a new weight room, updated clubhouse facilities and updates to the stadium lighting. While those renovations are ongoing, they’re expected to be completed prior to June 1. The Bisons, meanwhile, are playing their home games out of Trenton, N.J. to accommodate the Blue Jays’ relocation and the ongoing renovations, Davidi points out.

The move to Sahlen Field is indefinite, as a return to Toronto is dependent on government regulations and recommendations of medical experts in Canada. For the time being, the Jays extended thanks the city of Buffalo and to Bisons ownership, expressing excitement over the ability to return to the site of their “strong 2020 campaign, this time with in-person cheers from Buffalo-area fans.”

The Jays will open Sahlen Field at 24 percent capacity and begin selling tickets the morning of May 13. You can see their full press release here (courtesy of’s Mark Feinsand, on Twitter).

TC Zencka <![CDATA[Blue Jays Place Kirk, Milone, Castro On 10-Day IL]]> 2021-05-03T22:02:30Z 2021-05-03T22:02:55Z MAY 3: Kirk could miss at least six weeks, Ben Wagner of Sportsnet tweets.

MAY 2, 5:20PM: Right-hander Anthony Castro was also sent to the 10-day IL due to a forearm strain.  The severity of the strain isn’t known, though Castro did undergo Tommy John surgery earlier in his career.  Left-hander Anthony Kay was called up from the alternate training site.

11:40PM: The Blue Jays indeed decided to recall Riley Adams from Triple-A to replace Kirk on the active roster, per Scott Mitchell of TSN Sports (via Twitter).

9:10PM: The Blue Jays will make a number of roster moves today. Alejandro Kirk and Tommy Milone will head to the injured list, while Ross Stripling will return to the team, per Ben Wagner of Sportsnet (via Twitter). Presumably, with Kirk out for at least 10 days, the Blue Jays will need to add a backup to the roster for Danny Jansen.

Speculatively speaking, Reese McGuire or Juan Graterol would be the Jays’ top option, though either one would need to be added to the 40-man roster. The Jays do have an open spot on their 40-man, but they also have Riley Adams, 24, who is already on the 40-man roster and could slot into Jansen’s backup role without a 40-man move. If the Jays expect Kirk to return after a minimum stint on the IL, they might prefer to avoid the rigmarole that comes with putting the out-of-options McGuire back onto the active roster. Graterol, 32, does have an option remaining.

On the pitching side, Milone heads to the injured list after contributing 14 innings of 6.43 ERA baseball (4.09 FIP). The veteran southpaw made one start and five appearances out of the pen. Stripling will return to the rotation for the first time since being placed on the injured list with a flexor strain in mid-April. Stripling and the Blue Jays hope he can re-gain the form that made him a valuable swingman for the Dodgers from 2016 to 2019.

TC Zencka <![CDATA[Injury Notes: Diaz, Springer, Arihara]]> 2021-05-03T13:23:53Z 2021-05-03T13:23:53Z Let’s begin our Monday morning by rounding up some injury news from yesterday’s games…

  • Edwin Diaz left last night’s game against the Phillies after serving up a two-run double to Rhys Hoskins. Diaz was dealing with some back pain, but it doesn’t sound like the Mets are overly concerned, per Deesha Thosar of the New York Daily News (via Twitter). The Mets held on for the win anyway, pulling ahead of the Phillies into a tie for first place with the Nationals. Diaz has a 4.22 ERA/2.17 FIP in 10 2/3 innings so far with three saves, a slightly-depressed 31.8 percent strikeout rate and 11.4 percent walk rate. His velocity has been good so far this year with an average 98.8 mph fastball. If he misses time, Jeurys Familia could step in as he did last name, when he snagged the final out for the save.
  • George Springer was pulled from yesterday’s game because of fatigue in his legs, writes Arden Zwelling of A quad injury has been bothering Springer as he tries to round himself into regular season form. While it’s a little concerning to see Springer pulled from just his fourth game of the year, it doesn’t sound as if the Blue Jays anticipate another injured list stint. Said manager Charlie Montoyo, “He felt it a little bit and we said, ’OK, there’s no sense with this hot weather and stuff to force you to hit another at-bat or run or something. So, let’s just stop right there.'”
  • Kohei Arihara received an injection in his right middle finger recently to help with some soreness around a callus, but he’s still likely to miss at least one start and potentially even land on the injured list, per’s Daniel Guerrero. With Arihara set to miss time, Hyeon-jong Yang will move into the rotation. Yang has been good in two longer stints out of the pen, allowing just two earned runs in 8 2/3 innings. Yang was a starter in the KBO, though the 33-year-old is coming off a less-than-stellar year in which he racked up a 4.70 ERA in 172 1/3 innings over 31 starts for the Kia Tigers.
Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Injury Notes: Yardley, Brewers, Kirk, Stripling]]> 2021-05-02T13:22:36Z 2021-05-02T13:22:36Z Prior to Saturday’s game, the Brewers placed right-hander Eric Yardley on the 10-day injured list (placement retroactive to April 30) due to a right shoulder strain.  An extreme grounder specialist, Yardley posted a 1.80 ERA over 35 innings with the Padres and Brewers in 2019-20, but struggled to a 5.73 ERA over his first 11 innings of 2021.

Yardley is the seventh pitcher and the 16th player overall on an incredibly crowded Milwaukee injured list.  Despite missing so many key players, the Brewers are still 16-10 and in first place in the NL Central, though one wonders if the loss of healthy manpower will eventually catch up to the team.’s Adam McCalvy provided a rundown of known or estimated return dates for the 16 players, with a few unknowns based on a lack of information (such as Corbin Burnes’ placement on the COVID-19 injured list).

More on some injury situations from around baseball…

  • Blue Jays catcher Alejandro Kirk left Saturday’s game due to left hip flexor discomfort.  Kirk was just 24 hours removed from his biggest performance of the season, hitting two homers in the Jays’ 13-5 victory over the Braves on Friday.  For the year, Kirk is hitting .225/.326/.475 over 46 PA, good for a 127 wRC+.  Danny Jansen would assume starting duties in Kirk’s absence, and since Toronto has an open 40-man roster spot, Reese McGuire or veteran Juan Graterol could be selected to the roster in the event of an IL visit for Kirk.  (Riley Adams and Gabriel Moreno are the only catchers on the 40-man but neither has any MLB experience.)
  • In better injury news for the Blue Jays, manager Charlie Montoyo told reporters (including Sportsnet’s Ben Nicholson-Smith) that Ross Stripling is expected to start against the Braves on Sunday.  Stripling hasn’t pitched since April 8 due to a flexor strain, and given his absence, his outing tomorrow is probably likely to be limited to a few innings rather than a full starter’s workload.
Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Blue Jays Acquire Paxton Schultz From Brewers]]> 2021-05-02T01:15:36Z 2021-05-02T01:08:24Z The Blue Jays have acquired right-hander Paxton Schultz from the Brewers, according to a Jays team announcement.  The move completes a past move between the two clubs, as Schultz is the player to be named later in the February trade that saw Derek Fisher head from Toronto to Milwaukee.

Schultz was a 2019 draft pick, selected in the 14th round by the Brewers out of Utah Valley University.  He mostly worked as a starter in college, though he has thus far worked out of the bullpen for 15 of his 17 pro games.

Schultz posted a 3.86 ERA over 23 1/3 innings in rookie ball in 2019, but since the 2020 minor league season was canceled, he was one of six Milwaukee prospects sent to the Australian Baseball League as per the team’s partnership with the ABL’s Brisbane Bandits.  The righty got to appear in eight games with Brisbane, posting a 3.29 ERA over 17 1/3 innings and posting a 17-to-1 strikeout-to-walk ratio.

Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Blue Jays Designate Tanner Roark For Assignment]]> 2021-05-01T03:57:35Z 2021-05-01T03:57:48Z The Blue Jays have designated right-hander Tanner Roark for assignment, Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet was among those to report. They reinstated outfielder Teoscar Hernandez from the COVID-19 injured list and optioned fellow outfielder Jonathan Davis in corresponding moves.

This certainly isn’t the outcome Toronto expected when it signed Roark to a two-year, $24MM guarantee entering the 2020 season, but the deal will go down as a major mistake for the club. When the former National and Red joined the Blue Jays, he had five seasons of 165-plus innings on his resume and was at least a useful back-of-the-rotation starter. But Roark has been a liability as a member of the Jays, with whom he has recorded a horrific 6.75 ERA/5.26 SIERA with an 18.3 percent strikeout percentage and a 10.0 walk percentage in 54 2/3 innings. The 34-year-old has also seen his average fastball drop from the 92 mph range to below 91 since he signed with Toronto.

Roark threw just seven innings and made one start over three appearances this year for Toronto, and that small workload is damning when considering the injuries the team has dealt with in its rotation. The Jays will now have a week to trade Roark, pass him through waivers or release him. It seems likely they’ll wind up releasing Roark, who carries no appeal on a $12MM salary.

Hernandez, who hasn’t played since April 8, tested positive for COVID on April 13. He went an underwhelming 6-for-29 (five singles and a home run) with 14 strikeouts against no walks before going on the IL, though Hernandez was one of the majors’ top hitters a season ago. The Blue Jays have gone without Hernandez and center fielder/designated hitter George Springer for the vast majority of the season, but both are now back in their lineup.