According to a team release, the Toronto Blue Jays have claimed LHP Aaron Laffey from the New York Mets. In addition, Jose Reyeshas been added to the 60-Day DL to make room for him on the 40-man roster.
Some of you familiar with the Blue Jays will remember that Aaron Laffey was an active member of the Blue Jays’ big squad last year. He came up from AAA Las Vegas in the middle of the 2012 season to replace one of the plethora of injured pitching arms, to the tune of 100.2 innings, a 4.56 ERA, 5.59 FIP, 4.29 K/9 over 22 games and 16 starts.
Alex Anthopoulos has been way and above the most active GM when it comes to the waiver wire. His loophole-penetrating moves have led some to questions about MLB’s waiver policy from MLB Trade Rumors, which are absolutely warranted. As long as the rules aren’t being broken, Anthopoulos has time and time again bent them to his liking, including signing over and under slot in drafts, making trades to acquire players in order to then acquire draft pick compensation from them and recently acquiring cheap depth off the waiver wire to sneak them into the minor league system.
That’s where Aaron Laffey’s role with the Blue Jays comes in question. For one, he doesn’t have overwhelming stuff, giving up a lot of walks and home runs with a low strikeout rate. His career splits as a starter and as a reliever are almost identical in mediocrity. Aaron Laffey COULD be used as a swingman/mop up duty/emergency 6th starter used in mop-up situations on the major league team, but the team already has Ramon Ortiz in that role while Sergio Santos is on the DL. Both players would likely have to be sent down to the minors once he comes back from injury, so perhaps there is more to the Santos injury than meets the eye.
Aaron Laffey could also just be another pickup to add to the AAA Buffalo Bisons roster, which is the likely possibility. Anthopoulos has spoken about how he wants to make the Bisons a winner, and as of this post there are no lefty starters down at the AAA level. Even though Aaron Laffey might not be the best pitcher on the major league level, he might be able to get better starts against a weaker talent level, maybe gain some pitching confidence and be able to provide some sort of benefit to the Blue Jays if they call him up.
The sad note in this entire situation is that Jose Reyes cannot come back to the majors until at lease June 13, 60 days after being put on the DL to make room for Aaron Laffey. Any notion of him coming back from injury sooner than expected is all for naught, but now can provide Reyes with a definitive structure for when he can come back. Hopefully it will lead to no rehab setbacks during recovery, because with the way the Blue Jays have been playing against AL East opponents, we’ll need a healthy Reyes at the top of the lineup as soon as possible.