The Toronto Blue Jays, who have received the fourth fewest innings out of their starting pitchers thus far in 2014, made a move after Friday night’s game to refresh their bullpen. According to an official team release, via Twitter, the Blue Jays have recalled right-hander Chad Jenkins from Triple-A Buffalo and optioned fellow reliever Neil Wagner to the Bisons.
Is anyone else feeling the Deja Vu right about now?
If you recall, the Blue Jays attempted to recall Chad Jenkins on April 5th, when the Jeremy Jeffress experiment officially ended. Unfortunately, Jenkins had not spent the prerequisite 10 days in the minors after being optioned there at the end of spring training, and the transaction was disallowed. That meant the Blue Jays could only add a pitcher not already on the 40-man roster, which brought Marcus Walden to Toronto instead. Walden would spend four days riding the pine before being optioned back to Buffalo and eventually designated for assignment. He was later plucked off waivers by the Oakland Athletics.
The 26-year-old Jenkins, a first round pick of the Blue Jays in 2009, has spent the early part of his season pitching for Triple-A Buffalo. He has appeared in 8 games for the Bisons, including 1 start, and has posted a tidy 2.30 ERA, a 5.50 K/BB ratio, and has racked up two saves. In 23 career appearances (6 starts) at the Major League level, Jenkins owns a solid 3.58 ERA, a 2-3 record, but a rather pedestrian 4.3 K/9 ratio.
He’ll take the roster spot of Neil Wagner, who was somewhat of a surprising choice to be sent down, at least in terms of production. In 9 appearances with the Blue Jays this season, Wagner has posted a 3.12 ERA and a 6.2 K/9 ratio over 8.2 innings of work. However, Wagner has one thing that some of the other arms in the Blue Jays bullpen do not have; minor league options. As noted by Gregor Chisholm in the following tweet, that was not a fact lost on the media, the fans, or even manager John Gibbons.
Gibbons admits the obvious. Decision to send Wagner to Minors is because he has options left. Rogers/Redmond don’t. Happ can block demotion.
— Gregor Chisholm (@gregorMLB) April 26, 2014
The promotion of Chad Jenkins is also curious in that he is in essence a long-reliever, which is becoming somewhat redundant with Todd Redmond, Esmil Rogers, and J.A. Happ already holding down those spots in the 8-man bullpen. What it does do is possibly lend some credence to the notion that the Blue Jays may look into a 6-man rotation in the coming weeks. Having another long-man in the pen under those circumstances may be understandable. The Blue Jays starters’ inability to pitch deep into games has forced the usage of extended relief too often, and this could open the Jays up to piggy-backing Dustin McGowan or J.A. Happ in spot starts.