Mar 28, 2014; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays shortstop Munenori Kawasaki (66) slides into home plate in the seventh inning against the New York Mets at the Olympic Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Eric Bolte-USA TODAY Sports

Blue Jays Make Roster Moves With J.A. Happ, Maicer Izturis, and More

After defeating the Baltimore Orioles 11-3 on Sunday, the Toronto Blue Jays unleashed a flurry of roster moves on Sunday afternoon, all influenced by the team’s need to maneuver around the disabled list. According to Shi Davidi of Sportsnet, the Blue Jays have placed infielder Maicer Izturis on the disabled list, and recalled infielder Munenori Kawasaki. The team has also optioned catcher Eric Kratz to the Buffalo Bisons and activated pitcher J.A. Happ from the 15-day disabled list.


Izturis was a late scratch this afternoon, as a knee sprain removed him from today’s line-up and forced the Blue Jays to slide Ryan Goins over to second base and insert Jonathan Diaz at short. Also according to Davidi, it appears that Izturis felt a “pop” in his knee while taking the steps in the dugout and will have an MRI on Monday in Minnesota.

In his place, the Blue Jays have purchased the contract of Munenori Kawasaki from the Buffalo Bisons as infield depth. As Michael Wray indicated earlier today, the loss of Izturis could means that Ryan Goins will continue to see playing time in an attempt to sort out his season-long slump once Jose Reyes returns.

Kawasaki was a fan favorite a season ago, when he slashed .229/.326/.308 and flashed an energetic spirit that was missing from much of the squad. Many were amazed that Jonathan Diaz got the call-up rather than Kawasaki when Reyes went down, but alas, fate brings Muni back to Toronto for another go-around anyway.

In the other roster move, the Blue Jays activated pitcher J.A. Happ from the 15-day disabled list and according to Davidi’s tweet above, he will be placed in the bullpen for the foreseeable future. The left-hander was atrocious this spring, amassing (is there any better term) a 20.57 ERA in 7 innings of work while walking 9 and striking out 8. He was later placed on the DL with back tightness and sent out on rehab earlier this month. After making two relatively decent starts for Dunedin and Buffalo, Happ was expected to take the ball on Sunday against Pawtucket, but that plan apparently changed.

Erik Kratz was relatively quiet in his brief stay with the Blue Jays big league club. After hitting a home run in his first at-bat with Toronto, Kratz managed just 1 more hit in his next 9 at-bats in limited action for the Blue Jays. With both Dioner Navarro and Josh Thole already on the roster, the bottleneck at catcher was likely to be resolved as soon as someone needed to be activated from the DL. It just turns out that Happ was that guy.

Finally, the one non-move that Blue Jays fans are watching is the status of Colby Rasmus. After breaking out in Sunday’s game by going 3 for 4 with a home run, 3 RBI, and a pair of runs scored, Rasmus was lifted late in the game with what was later revealed to be a mild tightness in his hamstring. No word yet on how serious it may be or if he’ll miss any time, but for now Rasmus is being considered day to day.

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Tags: J.A. Happ Maicer Izturis Toronto Blue Jays

  • brad

    Awesome….. maybe when Janssen comes back, we can have a 9 man bullpen!….or we can send down a good reliever to keep Happ, Rogers and Redmond!……..

    • Michael Wray

      Face palm

      • JP

        Stroman and Sanchez will not be ready in 2 months……the latter had a poor outing today. And we don’t need a 4 man bench at the moment though it would be optimal at some point. It is simply not a big deal at the moment.

        • Michael Wray

          I’d definitely agree that Sanchez won’t be ready this year and simply no reason to rush him.

          • JP

            I don’t think that the Jays have any intention of promoting Stroman in 2 months unless unforeseen circumstances…..I don’t expect to see him until September. Don’t agree at all with the assessment of lost wins and I am fully versed on advanced analytics. Nothing is lost by sending down Wagner. Rogers, if he stays, will only be used in low leveraged situations like today unless he improves..Lind seems much more focused this year and may surprise the expectations.

          • JP

            sorry…replied to the wrong message….should have been to Brad. I should add that I also expect the 8 man pen to be temporary as I think AA is trying to trade a reliever and there is no way of knowing if or when that might happen. Of course if the team is well out of it by July, there could be numerous moves that we don’t anticipate at present.

          • brad

            8 may have been a bit of an exaggeration but the implications over a full season are still quite severe.

            Figure a good setup man is worth about 1 WAR….. which is about three quarters of a win more than what you are going to get from Rogers or Happ in the pen….. so there is one and a half just by personnel selection(not a bad assumption that Wagner, Jenkins are both about 1WAR pitchers on a team that uses a heavy hand with the pen). Next, figure that you take about 0.2 WAR away per pitcher per season when you misuse them…. in an 8 man pen that’s another 1.2ish(because you are really only losing value on 7 guys…. add in the quarter win for the 8th man). Small sample size this year but Lind is at .167 against lefties…218 career……ops+ of 54 career! over a full season that’s about -1WAR conservatively(assuming a lefty setup man 1-2 at bats a night and a lefty starter once every 4ish days) where a good pinch hitter would provide about +1 WAR for those at bats(including those where a lefty setup man wasn’t put in because of the threat of the pinch hitter)….total of about 5 so far… anything you would get from pinch running for a guy like Navarro(minimal).

            Then you take the fact that you waste 3 starts stretching a guy out to join the rotation per injury and you aren’t that far off. Again though, this is assuming good use of the bench… which hasn’t really happened yet. As it stands right now, almost half of the pen is incapable of pitching in high leverage situations…. which seems a steep price to pay for some extra #5 starters imo(when simply using Drabek, Nolin, Stroman etc. instead of Happ and Rogers in the 6-7 SP spots would cost maybe 1 win…. and may actually put you in the black….much better upside there) . If there’s a trade coming then it isn’t really a big deal but it’s likely something that should have happened 4 months ago…. One thing for sure is that using an 8 man pen is increasing the odds of irrelevance by July.

        • brad

          for context, keeping all of these three is only of any benefit if 3 starting pitchers get hurt and neither Sanchez nor Stroman is ready in the next 2 months(and if one of them is, 4 starters need to get injured).

          Stroman is in AAA, is 23 and has a really good AA season under his belt. 2 months is a pretty good estimate. As for Sanchez, 2 months may be a bit soon but a September callup would be of no shock…..regardless off a single outing today(he has more pro experience than Wacha did…though admittedly isn’t as polished). Plus, what about a guy like Sean Nolin or Kyle Drabek? They have a bunch of guys really close to MLB ready that have way more than the #5 upside they are now wasting 3 bullpen spots on. I just don’t see the benefit.

          As for why it is detrimental, Wagner is likely going to be sent down when Janssen comes back at which point 2 of the 3 aforementioned pitchers will be holding the place of better pen pitchers(Wagner and Jenkins). They have 3 long men in the pen right now that aren’t going to be stretched out enough in the event that one of them needs to make a start. In addition, they cannot give everyone in the pen enough work to stay sharp if this lasts longer than about a week. Not only will the pen not have the best personnel, but the personnel that is there will not be as good as they can be. And finally, Lind becomes an automatic out after the 6th inning. That’s about 8 lost wins in total over the course of a full season. If this is going to be more than a short short term thing, it is a big deal.

    • Michael Wray

      Sadly it looks like Wagner will be back in Buffalo when Janssen returns… if it ever comes to a point where they option Loup to keep these bums, I give up.

      • brad

        I mean, I get that they don’t wanna lose rotation depth and they probably will need another 2 or 3 starters this season…. BUT, they have 2 pitchers that are presumably part of their future sitting in the minors that will be ready in 1-2 months. You would think that they should only need 1 extra stater by june and could stand to get rid of 2 of those guys to help the bullpen….I don’t see anyone claiming Rogers right now.

        And that’s not even mentioning the fact that they probably won’t be ready to spot start if needed because they aren’t stretched out!

        • Michael Wray

          Yeah I understand the conundrum of exposing them and really Wagner doesn’t make the Jays THAT much better. And with McGowan in the rotation there’s probably a higher chance they’ll end up needing additional depth. I think they are just trying to hoard as many possible starting pitchers as possible but it comes to a point you can only afford to carry so many “extra” starters in your bullpen.