The Toronto Blue Jays unleashed a flurry of roster moves on Thursday morning, hoping to inject some life into a team in tailspin and needing a spark. According to Shi Davidi of Sportsnet (via Twitter), the Blue Jays have recalled outfielder Anthony Gose and purchased the contract of infielder Steve Tolleson. To make room for both on the active roster, Jonathan Diaz was optioned to Triple-A Buffalo and outfielder Moises Sierra was designated for assignment.
Obviously, the biggest news in that bunch was the designation of Moises Sierra. Ideally, the Blue Jays would have sent the struggling outfielder to Buffalo in order to get more development time, but the team was forced to carry him out of spring training as Sierra had no remaining minor league options. The experiment failed badly, as Sierra was crunched for playing time and when he got on the field, he appeared lost at times. In just 35 plate appearances, Sierra was able to muster just 2 hits and a walk for a slash-line of .059/.086/.145.
Sierra will now test his luck on waivers and see if he can latch on with another team. He has shown upside in the past, as noted by his slash of .290/.369/.458 when seeing extended playing time last season. However, he will be a work in progress wherever he goes. Who knows, maybe he’ll clear waivers and return to Buffalo.
Anthony Gose will draw the next stick as the Blue Jays back-up outfielder. The one-time “center fielder of the future” for the Blue Jays, Gose has struggled to lay claim to that title in the past, putting together a batting line of .238/.298/.359 with a nearly 4:1 K/BB ratio at the Major League level. His start in Buffalo also makes him hardly an ideal candidate for a promotion, where he was hitting just .235. but his .350 OBP was a definite improvement. Gose also gives the Blue Jays some speed off the bench and the ability to play all three outfield positions, something Sierra’s limited range would not allow.
The promotion of Gose was likely pushed up due to the injury to Melky Cabrera, who is day-to-day after getting plunked on the knee during Wednesday night’s game against the Royals.
Also on the move to Toronto is infielder Steve Tolleson. Signed this winter a minor league deal, Tolleson owns a career .225 batting average with 3 home runs and 10 RBI in just 129 career plate appearances. The 30-year-old started the season at Buffalo where he was slashing .236/.345/.333 while bouncing around the infield. He’ll likely serve as a primary bench candidate, but could share time at second base with fellow light-hitting infielder Chris Getz.
The designation of Sierra opens up the necessary spot on the 40-man roster for the Blue Jays to purchase the contract of Tolleson.
To make room for Tolleson, the Blue Jays optioned Jonathan Diaz to Buffalo. Diaz was an addition during the first week of the season, when Jose Reyes tweaked his hamstring and forced the team to add a shortstop to the active roster. The 29-year-old played in a career-high 22 games thus far, but his .176 average likely played against him here. More so were his struggles at the plate on display than on Wednesday night, when he failed to lay down a bunt in the top of the 7th with Chris Getz on second and Jose Reyes on first.
None of these moves appear to be drastic upgrades, but seem to be more about flexibility. Tolleson can play anywhere on the infield and Gose can slide around the outfield. Neither is going to be expected to contribute much in an everyday role.