Toronto Blue Jays – MLB Trade Rumors 2020-08-08T00:33:20Z WordPress Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Blue Jays Place Trent Thornton On IL]]> 2020-08-07T03:50:42Z 2020-08-07T03:50:42Z The Blue Jays have placed right-hander Trent Thornton on the injured list with elbow inflammation, Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet reports. Thornton “felt kind of weird” when throwing a bullpen, but he’s not in line for an MRI at this point, per Nicholson-Smith.

Set to turn 27 years old next month, Thornton joined the Blue Jays in a trade with the Astros for infielder Aledmys Diaz in November 2018. Thornton wound up as one of the Blue Jays’ most relied-on starters in 2019, when he threw 154 1/3 innings and notched a 4.84 ERA/4.59 FIP with 8.69 K/9 and 3.56 BB/9. Prior to his IL placement this year, he made one appearance on July 27 and yielded one earned run on eight hits with three strikeouts and two walks across four innings in a win over the Nationals.

Victories have been in short supply for Toronto, which is off to a 4-6 start, and its rotation has been a mixed bag in the early going. Thornton, Tanner Roark and Nate Pearson have kept runs off the board at a good clip so far. That hasn’t been the case for Hyun Jin Ryu and Matt Shoemaker, but they’ve shown they’re capable major league starters. That’s especially true of Ryu, who was a star with the Dodgers in recent seasons. In his best Blue Jays performance to date, he tossed five shutout innings of one-hit ball in a win over the Braves on Wednesday.

Anthony Franco <![CDATA[Giants Designate Jandel Gustave For Assignment]]> 2020-08-03T00:58:02Z 2020-08-03T00:58:02Z Prior to today’s game, the Giants designated right-handed reliever Jandel Gustave for assignment, per Maria Guardado of (Twitter link). The move cleared roster space for the addition of fellow right-hander Andrew Triggs, whose contract was selected. Additionally, Rule V draftee Dany Jiménez cleared waivers and was returned to the Blue Jays organization after being designated earlier in the week, per Henry Schulman of the San Francisco Chronicle (Twitter link).

The hard-throwing Gustave was once a relief prospect of note in the Astros’ system, but his most extensive MLB action came last season with the Giants. He tossed 24.1 innings of 2.96 ERA ball, but mediocre strikeout (14.1%) and walk (9.1%) rates suggested that strong run prevention was unlikely to continue. He hadn’t been on the Giants’ active roster this season.

Triggs got off to an inauspicious start to his SF tenure this afternoon, allowing three runs on three walks while recording just one out in a loss to the Rangers. Nevertheless, the 31-year-old once looked like a solid back-end starter, flashing solid strikeout and ground ball tendencies across the bay with the A’s between 2016 and 2018.

Jiménez’s time as a Giant comes to an end after just two appearances (in which he walked three of eight batters faced). The 26-year-old returns to the Toronto organization, where he needn’t occupy a 40-man roster spot.

Anthony Franco <![CDATA[Marlins Claim Brian Moran, Sign Brett Eibner]]> 2020-08-03T00:22:08Z 2020-08-03T00:22:08Z The Marlins announced they have claimed left-handed reliever Brian Moran off waivers from the Blue Jays. They’ve also purchased the contract of two-way player Brett Eibner from the Eastern Reyes del Tigre of the independent Constellation Energy League, per an announcement from the indy ball club. (Mark Berman of Fox 26 was first to report that agreement was close). They’re the latest additions to a pitching staff decimated by this week’s onslaught of positive COVID-19 tests.

The sidewinder Moran actually made his debut as a member of the Marlins last season. He worked 6.1 innings across ten games, leveraged heavily against left-handed batters (including his younger brother Colin, whom he struck out). While the elder Moran performed well both in Triple-A and in his brief MLB action, the Marlins outrighted him last fall. Moran signed a minor-league deal with the Jays over the offseason and made Toronto’s season-opening roster, but he only appeared in two games before they cut him loose.

Meanwhile, Eibner will return to affiliated ball for the first time since 2018. The onetime Royal and Dodger outfielder flirted with a two-way role toward the end of his L.A. tenure but was derailed by a Tommy John surgery. He’s stuck with playing both ways since his return, although he’s presumably being viewed as a primary pitcher in Miami. Eibner has not been added to the 40-man roster but seems likely to report to the club’s alternate training site. In 5.1 relief innings in indy ball this season, he’s struck out eight against one walk.

Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Blue Jays "Very Optimistic" Ken Giles Will Return In 2020 ]]> 2020-08-01T04:33:45Z 2020-08-01T04:33:45Z
  • Blue Jays reliever Ken Giles went on the injured list July 27 with a right forearm strain, but the team is “very optimistic” he’ll return this season, according to general manager Ross Atkins (via Kaitlyn McGrath of The Athletic). After getting a second opinion on the injury, Giles underwent a platelet-rich plasma injection. Not only would his return boost the Blue Jays’ of pushing for a playoff spot, but it would be a positive for Giles as he prepares for a trip to free agency in a few months. The 29-year-old was absolutely dominant when he was healthy enough to pitch in 2019, but arm problems have troubled him since last summer.
  • ]]>
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Phillies-Blue Jays Series Postponed]]> 2020-07-30T21:08:55Z 2020-07-30T21:05:15Z 4:05pm: Major League Baseball has formally announced the postponement of this weekend’s Jays/Phillies series and issued the following statement:

    Out of an abundance of caution, the Philadelphia Phillies’ three-game weekend series with the Toronto Blue Jays, scheduled for Saturday, August 1st and Sunday, August 2nd at Citizens Bank Park, has been postponed. Major League Baseball will coordinate with health experts and the Major League Baseball Players Association in planning for the Phillies’ resumption of play, and will provide further scheduling updates as necessary.

    12:34pm: The scheduled weekend series between the Phillies and Blue Jays has been postponed, Toronto skipper Charlie Montoyo tells reporters including Ben Nicholson-Smith of (via Twitter). For the time being, the Jays will hang tight in D.C. and await further word after wrapping up their series with the Nats.

    This adds to a still-building MLB scheduling pile-up that will require increasingly convoluted mid-season adaptations. The hope had been that the Marlins’ COVID-19 breakout would stay within that club. But it emerged this morning that two non-player members of the Phillies organization have come down with infections.

    With two teams sidelined, their planned opponents are also on ice. In this case, the Jays and Nats may actually end up hanging out waiting in the same place. There’s no word yet whether the league will somehow attempt to stage contests between those two organizations in order to keep logging games.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Ken Giles Shut Down Due To Forearm Strain]]> 2020-07-28T20:08:02Z 2020-07-28T20:05:46Z July 28: Giles has been “shut down” for awhile after being diagnosed with a forearm strain, manager Charlie Montoyo told reporters Tuesday (Twitter link via Mitchell). He’s getting a second opinion on the injury.

    July 27: The Blue Jays announced today that closer Ken Giles is heading to the injured list, Scott Mitchell of TSN was among those to cover on Twitter. He is still awaiting the results of an MRI on his injured right elbow.

    Two new arms will head onto the Toronto roster: Ryan Borucki and Wilmer Font. The club had another opening because infielder Travis Shaw is temporarily away due to a family matter.

    It remains to be seen just how significant an issue Giles is dealing with, but the team is obviously concerned enough not only to order an MRI but also to go ahead with an IL placement. The righty dealt with elbow problems last year as well, though he was ultimately able to work back to the mound.

    Even a relatively minor injury could doom any thought of a mid-season trade of Giles. He has long seemed a candidate to be dealt, but the Jays evidently never received a good enough offer to make a move. It’s even rougher news for Giles, who’ll hit the open market at season’s end.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Blue Jays’ Nate Pearson To Debut July 29]]> 2020-07-28T01:52:05Z 2020-07-28T01:50:57Z JULY 27, 8:50pm: Montoyo confirmed that Pearson will debut Wednesday, per Davidi.

    3:35pm: Pearson is indeed still scheduled for his debut on Wednesday, Campbell tweets. Manager Charlie Montoyo still wasn’t ready to announce a move, but did acknowledge the possibility of a call-up, as Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi tweets.

    JULY 22: The Blue Jays plan to activate standout pitching prospect Nate Pearson on July 29, Jamie Campbell of Sportsnet reports. Pearson is not on the Blue Jays’ 40-man roster, which is currently full.

    Toronto will gain an extra year of control over Pearson by keeping him off its roster during the first week of its season. So, considering the league’s rules on service time, it’s no surprise that the team will open its schedule without the 23-year-old right-hander. But Pearson may wind up as a game-changing addition to the Blue Jays’ roster when he does make his debut, and perhaps someone who could challenge for American League Rookie of the Year honors.

    The flamethrowing Pearson joined Toronto as the 28th overall pick in the 2017 draft and has proven himself an elite farmhand since then ( ranks him first in the team’s system and No. 8 in the sport, for instance). Pearson made his debut in Triple-A last year with 18 innings of 3.00 ERA ball, but he spent most of his season in Double-A, recording a terrific 2.59 ERA/2.90 FIP with 9.91 K/9 and 3.02 BB/9 over 62 2/3 frames. Pearson also acquitted himself well during spring training this year, as he held hitters to a paltry .194 batting average and totaled 16 strikeouts against five walks in 10 2/3 innings before the sport shut down.

    If Pearson does come up and make a serious impact in 2020, Toronto could have an enviable duo atop its rotation with him and left-hander Hyun-Jin Ryu – an $80MM offseason pickup who finished as the National League Cy Young runner-up as a Dodger in 2019. Until Pearson makes his first start and Chase Anderson returns from the injured list, though, the Blue Jays appear likely to fill out their rotation with Tanner Roark, Matt Shoemaker, Trent Thornton and Ryan Borucki behind Ryu.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Predict The AL East Division Winner]]> 2020-07-28T00:56:11Z 2020-07-28T00:56:11Z With final roster decisions in the books and the 2020 season underway at long last, it’s time to make some predictions. We’re polling the MLBTR readership on each of the game’s six divisions — though plenty more teams will crack the postseason under the rather inclusive new playoff qualification system. We’ve already surveyed the AL CentralNL Central, and NL East landscapes, and now we’ll turn to the American League East.

    The Yankees have certainly been tabbed the favorite by most observers, but several key players have questionable injury histories and the short-season format opens the door for challengers. The Rays are perhaps the prime contender for a surprise, with a deep and versatile roster that’s far more talented than the payroll would suggest. Then again, we may all be overlooking the Red Sox, who have certainly shed some talent but still have several rather high-ceiling players. There’s a ton of young talent on the Blue Jays roster; maybe the team could surprise if those precocious performers develop ahead of schedule. It’s quite difficult to make a case for the Orioles, even in a pithy blurb, but … hey, they’re tied for the division lead at 2-1 entering play today!

    Which team do you think is going to take the division title? (Poll link for app users.)

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Blue Jays Release Marc Rzepczynski]]> 2020-07-27T11:46:46Z 2020-07-27T11:46:46Z The Blue Jays have released left-hander Marc Rzepczynski, per Baseball America’s Chris Hilburn-Trenkle. The veteran reliever had previously signed a minor league deal in hopes of earning a second stint with the Jays, but he wasn’t included in their 60-player pool for Summer Camp.

    Last year marked the first time in a decade that the 34-year-old Rzepczynski didn’t throw at least 10 big league innings in a season. He spent the year with the Diamondbacks’ Triple-A affiliate, struggling to a 5.04 ERA in 44 2/3 frames. His last full big league season came back in 2017.

    Rzepczynski has long been one of the league’s more recognizable lefty specialists, holding same-handed batters to a career .227/.295/.305 batting line in 837 plate appearances over a decade in the Majors. Right-handed opponents, however, have logged an .822 OPS against him in 1035 trips to the plate. The new three-batter minimum rule doesn’t exactly do any favors for pitchers of this ilk, although Rzepczynski has had a few seasons along the way where he’s held righties in check for the most part.

    In his 10 MLB seasons, Rzepczynski has pitched to a 3.89 ERA (3.88 FIP) with 8.5 K/9, 4.2 BB/9, 0.74 HR/9 and a huge 59.7 percent ground-ball rate in 434 2/3 innings.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Ken Giles To Undergo MRI On Right Elbow]]> 2020-07-26T22:49:21Z 2020-07-26T22:49:21Z Blue Jays closer Ken Giles left today’s game with what the team described as right elbow soreness.  Called in to preserve a 4-2 Toronto lead in the ninth inning, Giles retired the first two Rays batters he faced before allowing a Joey Wendle double and then two walks, and was then removed from the game.  In a post-game chat with Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi and other reporters, Jays manager Charlie Montoyo said Giles would undergo an MRI to determine the severity of the problem.

    Any elbow issue is a bad sign for a pitcher, of course, and Giles’ injury could be particularly troublesome given that he was bothered by that same elbow last season.  Montoyo didn’t know whether Giles’ current problems were similar to his inflammation issues in 2019, which included an minimal IL stint in June and then a cortisone shot in late July that didn’t lead to a shutdown or another injured list placement, though the timing likely prevented Toronto from dealing Giles to a playoff contender.

    Trade speculation continued to swirl around Giles heading into the offseason, and though that talk seemed to diminish once the Jays made some moves (i.e. the Hyun Jin Ryu signing) indicating a push towards contention in 2020, he certainly still stood out as a potential trade candidate if the club fell out of a postseason race.  Of course, between the expanded playoff structure and the new August 31 trade deadline, it is hard to know if the Jays will consider themselves true sellers in any scenario besides a total collapse over the next few weeks of play.

    A potential injury not only hurts Giles’ trade value and the Blue Jays’ chances of contending, but it also hurts his market value as the closer heads into free agency this winter.  Despite his elbow concerns in 2019, Giles still enjoyed an outstanding season, posting a 1.87 ERA, 4.88 K/BB rate, and 14.1 K/9 rate over 53 innings in his first full season with Toronto.

    George Miller <![CDATA[Blue Jays’ Buffalo Opener Set For August 11]]> 2020-07-26T23:12:50Z 2020-07-26T21:10:21Z The Blue Jays’ first home game in Buffalo will be played on August 11 against the Marlins, reports Hazel Mae of Sportsnet. Their first “home” games were set to take place July 29-August 2, but those two series will in fact take place in Nationals Park and Citizens Bank Park.

    It shouldn’t come as a surprise that the Blue Jays won’t be able to instantly move into their temporary home, as Buffalo’s Sahlen Field will require some modifications in order to accommodate Major League Baseball.

    As a result, the Blue Jays will take on the unique circumstance of playing “home” games in their opponent’s ballpark, at least for a few days. This week, the Nationals and Phillies will be designated as visitors in their native ballparks, so expect the cardboard cutouts in Philly to take no prisoners while Bryce Harper’s at bat.

    One would imagine the Blue Jays’ early-season schedule becomes that much tougher without a real homestand to fall back on—to say nothing of tough opponents like the Rays and defending champion Nats to open the season, plus the rest of MLB’s East division.

    At the very least, Sahlen field should represent some familiarity for many of the team’s young players, who would’ve passed through Triple-A Buffalo while climbing the Jays’ minor-league ranks. Still, there might be some challenges in that its facilities aren’t intended for MLB play, though of course work is being done to meet those standards as best as possible.

    Teams won’t benefit from the support of fans in the seats, but there’s something to be said for the luxury of waking up in one’s own bed as opposed to a hotel room. Regardless, it will be interesting to watch the Blue Jays’ season play out in their new, temporary home.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Blue Jays To Play Home Games In Buffalo]]> 2020-07-24T16:58:06Z 2020-07-24T16:05:46Z The Blue Jays will play their home games for the 2020 season at their Triple-A site in Buffalo, reports Dan Connolly of The Athletic (Twitter link). The Jays have been searching for a home site since government regulations in Canada ruled out Toronto’s Rogers Centre. They thought they’d reached a deal with the Pirates to utilize Pittsburgh’s PNC Park, but the Pennsylvania Department of Health quashed that plan. The Blue Jays also explored the possibility of playing at Camden Yards in Baltimore, which the Orioles reportedly approved, but that arrangement was also pending government approval in Maryland.

    All the while, the Jays have reportedly been working to upgrade their facilities at Buffalo’s Sahen Field, bringing the clubhouses lighting up to par with MLB standards (or at least as close as possible). The organization’s strong preference has been to play its home games at a Major League facility, but it seems they’ll instead settle in a familiar setting for many of the club’s young players.

    The Jays have since officially confirmed the report, issuing a statement which indicates they’ll stage the “majority” of its 2020 home games in Buffalo. Said president and CEO Mark Shapiro within the release:

    “This process has no doubt tested our team’s resilience, but our players and staff refuse to make excuses – we are determined to take the field on Opening Day today, and for the coming months, with the same intensity and competitiveness that our fans expect.”

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Blue Jays, Orioles Discussing Sharing Of Camden Yards]]> 2020-07-23T15:23:38Z 2020-07-23T15:22:59Z 10:22am: The O’s have given their blessing, Jon Heyman of MLB Network tweets.

    7:23am: Already bounced by Canada and turned away by the state of Pennsylvania, the Blue Jays are now engaged in talks with the Orioles about the use of Camden Yards. Dan Connolly and Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic write that the O’s are amenable, with a few caveats.

    The biggest question, as we’ve now learned from experience, isn’t whether the local logistics can be arranged. It’s whether the final authorities will grant approval for whatever scheme is worked out.

    In this case, that means convincing the state of Maryland to permit another professional sports resident and, more importantly, to facilitate the flow of traffic of visiting teams to and from other states. That was the issue that gummed up the both of the Blue Jays’ prior schemes to play ball through the pandemic.

    Before formal approval is sought, the two teams still need to hammer out a means of hosting the Jays. Per the report, the newly nomadic ballclub would not be permitted to utilize either of the regular clubhouses. Instead, they’d be housed in some kind of makeshift facility — potentially, one constructed in the Camden Yards concourse.

    It’s quite the situation to be sorting out on Opening Day, though thankfully the Jays’ schedule allows a bit of remaining breathing room. If the Camden Yards effort fails to pan out, the barnstorming Blue Jays will likely be forced to settle for a minor-league facility — quite likely their top affiliate in Buffalo, New York.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Blue Jays Set Opening Day Roster]]> 2020-07-23T18:45:02Z 2020-07-23T15:16:53Z The Blue Jays announced their Opening Day, 30-man roster this morning. Left-hander Brian Moran and right-hander A.J. Cole were both selected to the 40-man roster and will make the club. Toronto also placed righty Chase Anderson on the 10-day IL (retroactive to July 20) with an oblique strain and opted to carry infielder Santiago Espinal, lefty Anthony Kay and right-handers Thomas Hatch and Jacob Waguespack.

    Notably absent is right-hander Nate Pearson, one of the game’s elite pitching prospects. He’s on the team’s three-man taxi squad (along with southpaw Ryan Borucki and catcher Caleb Joseph) but won’t accrue service time in that role. He’ll reportedly be called up next week, when the Jays will be able to promote him while extending their club control of him for an additional season (as has long been expected).

    Moran, 31, is the older brother of Pirates third baseman Colin Moran. He made his big league debut at 30 years of age with the Marlins last season, pitching 6 1/3 innings while yielding three runs with a 10-to-2 K/BB ratio. A seventh-round pick in 2009, Moran has had quite the odyssey to the Majors, twice taking to the independent circuit as a showcase to get back into affiliated ball. But he carries a career 3.67 ERA with 11.5 K/9 against 3.2 BB/9 in 176 1/3 Triple-A frames and will now get his second opportunity in the Majors.

    Cole, 28, is a former top prospect who’s yet to find his footing despite multiple MLB chances. He’s seen action with three teams in parts of five seasons but posted a pedestrian 4.86 ERA and 5.03 FIP in 174 innings. Cole had some success both with the Nats in 2017 and the Indians last year, logging identical 3.81 ERAs in both years. He’s averaged better than a strikeout per frame in the big leagues but has also surrendered an average of 1.8 homers per nine innings pitched.

    The Jays don’t need to make any corresponding transactions to add Moran and Cole to the 40-man. The team recently placed Breyvic Valera on the restricted list after he was unable to leave his native Venezuela and report to Jays Summer Camp in Toronto. The club also has Brandon Drury, Jonathan Davis, Wilmer Font and Elvis Luciano on the Covid-19 IL, and none of the four will count against the team’s 40-man roster while on that list.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Pennsylvania Department Of Health Will Not Approve Blue Jays’ Use Of PNC Park]]> 2020-07-22T20:25:22Z 2020-07-22T19:10:51Z 2:10pm: The Pennsylvania Department of Health has formally vetoed the Blue Jays’ Pittsburgh plan, per Will Graves of the Associated Press (Twitter thread). In a statement issued to the AP, Dr. Rachel Levine said the following: “To add travelers to this region for any reason, including for professional sports events, risks residents, visitors and members of both teams.”

    2:00pm: With the Blue Jays unable to play their home games at Toronto’s Rogers Centre in 2020, the club thought it had worked out an arrangement to use Pittsburgh’s PNC Park as an alternate site. That deal, however, appears to be in jeopardy. ESPN’s Buster Olney tweets that neither the Jays nor MLB have received the go-ahead from the Pennsylvania government yet, adding that the team is again exploring alternate sites. The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal tweets that the deal with Pittsburgh is “falling apart.”

    Exactly what this means for the Jays remains unclear. They’ve previously explored playing home games at their spring facility in Dunedin, Fla., but Florida’s rapid rise in Covid-19 cases has complicated that idea. The Jays have been working to upgrade their Triple-A facilities in Buffalo in order to bring the lighting and clubhouses up to MLB code, although the organization’s preference has been to be able to play its “home” games in an MLB park, general manager Ross Atkins stated this week. Oriole Park at Camden Yards has also been suggested as an alternative, and the fact that the Pittsburgh plan appears in danger of being scrapped entirely could push the Jays to look more closely into that possibility.

    One more extreme possibility, per Olney, would be for the Jays to travel to the home city of every team they’re scheduled to play in 2020, but function as the “home” team on days where they’d been scheduled to host an opponent. With fans unlikely to attend games for much or all of the 2020 season, that may not be quite as detrimental as it would be playing in front of each opponent’s fans, although the aggressive travel and constant changes in scenery would likely make that an unpalatable last resort.

    The Jays don’t have a “home” game scheduled until July 29 when they’d host the Nationals, which provides at least a bit of cushion as the team scrambles to find a suitable venue. The clock is ticking, though, and Pennsylvania’s rejection casts some doubt on whether other U.S. cities — particularly those already home to one franchise — will be more amenable to welcoming the Jays for the length of the season.