The Toronto Blue Jays are on a roll lately, and they are ready to add some reinforcements to make sure that roll keeps moving forward.
On Tuesday, the Blue Jays are expected to call-up an army of players to join them in Arizona. Those players include Kyle Drabek, Jeremy Jeffress, Ricky Romero, Luis Perez, and Mike Nickeas. Mike Wilner of Sportsnet was the first to report the move via Twitter.
— Mike Wilner (@Wilnerness590) September 2, 2013
The promotion of Nickeas is of particular interest. The catcher, acquired from the Mets in the R.A. Dickey trade, was thought to be a contingency plan only if fellow catcher A.J. Jimenez was unable to make the jump due to lingering soreness in his right elbow. This would seem to indicate that the Blue Jays are going to play it safe with Jimenez, who underwent Tommy John surgery on the same elbow last season. The 30-year-old Nickeas is a career .180 hitter in the Major Leagues, but his results in the minors have not been much better as he’s hit just .166 in 200 plate appearances for Buffalo.
The next biggest surprise was Romero, who the Blue Jays were believed to be on the fence in regards to calling him up. The 28-year-old’s fall from grace has been well documented, as he’s struggled at Triple-A Buffalo to the tune of a 5-3 record, a 5.78 ERA, and a 1.29 K/BB ratio. What the Blue Jays would do with him at the Major League level this season remains to be seen, but I have a hard time believing that they’ll start him under any circumstances.
The 25-year-old Drabek is returning from his second Tommy John surgery and has had some decent results thus far in his rehab work, posting a 1-4 record, a 3.14 ERA, and an even more encouraging 5.83 K/BB ratio over the course of 43 Minor League innings. This is a good opportunity for Toronto to see what they have in the former top prospect going into the winter.
Jeremy Jeffress and Luis Perez are going to help to spell a very overworked, and suddenly under-performing bullpen.
Outside of one appearance at the Major League level for Toronto in 2013, Jeffress has spent the entire season in the minors, waiting for his second chance. The impending free agent has made 28 appearances out of the bullpen, posting a 1.39 ERA but is still walking batters at a 4.3 per nine inning clip in Buffalo.
Luis Perez is another Tommy John veteran from last season. The 28-year-old has suffered some setbacks during his rehab, but appears to have put them behind him. In six appearances, he holds a 1.86 ERA over 9.2 innings pitched, with a 1.50 K/BB ratio.
As reported by Brendan Kennedy of the Star, the Blue Jays will need to make several roster moves with the 40-man roster in order to open roster space for the new army. All, but Drabek are not on the 40-man roster, meaning the Blue Jays will have to open up four slots.