In what can be seen as an eventuality, the Toronto Blue Jays have optioned outfielder Moises Sierra to start the season with the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons. The move comes on the same day that Sierra left the Blue Jays to join the Dominican Republic team at the World Baseball Classic.
The team announced the move on its official transaction wire at BlueJays.com.
The 24-year-old Sierra received his first taste of the Major Leagues in 2012, getting the call-up in late July when injuries decimated the team’s outfield ranks. In 49 games with the Blue Jays, Sierra showed glimpses of his power potential, hitting .224 with 6 home runs and 15 RBI. That followed a season in Las Vegas where he hit .289 with 17 home runs and 63 RBI in 100 games with the 51′s. However, he also showed that he can struggle with pitch recognition, striking out 44 times in 157 plate appearances in Toronto and accumulating 86 more in 422 plate appearances with Las Vegas.
That said, optioning Sierra is by no means a reflection on what the Blue Jays see in the young outfielder. With Jose Bautista, Colby Rasmus, Melky Cabrera, and Rajai Davis already guaranteed roster spots, and Emilio Bonifacio also capable of playing in the outfield, it comes down to a simple numbers game for Sierra. Further complicating matters for Sierra is the strong spring that Anthony Gose is enjoying, although Gose is also expected to start the season with Buffalo.
Both outfielders could figure into Toronto’s midseason plans should an injury arise or should Colby Rasmus continue to struggle. However, both will ultimately benefit by getting consistent playing time and at-bats in Buffalo until such a moment arises.
Prior to leaving for the World Baseball Classic, Sierra was hitting a healthy .333 with a pair of doubles and 4 strike-outs in 13 plate appearances this spring. He has also racked up a pair of outfield assists with his strong throwing arm in right field.