Feb 25, 2014; Dunedin, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Deck McGuire (68) poses for a photo at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
The Toronto Blue Jays blogosphere may have slowed down to a dead crawl while the world waited on Ervin Santana to pick a new home, but that doesn’t mean the Blue Jays front office did. While we were all dying a slow death at the hands of our Twitter feeds, the rest of the Blue Jays baseball world went on, and the team made a number of moves to trim up the roster in camp.
Now with Santana safely tucking his contract away with the Atlanta Braves, we can catch up on who went where when they received their ticket home from the Blue Jays.
New Hampshire Fisher Cats
Neither is a big surprise here. Jimenez was slated to begin the year in New Hampshire, where he spent 50 games in 2013 and slashed .276/.327/.394 before receiving the call-up to Buffalo. However, Toronto is looking to their catcher of the future to work with knuckleballer Tomo Ohka in New Hampshire in preparation of catching R.A. Dickey either this season or next. It’ll also give him a spot to regain confidence in his bat after struggling at Triple-A late in the season.
Wilson opened some eyes in the Arizona Fall League, resulting in the Blue Jays adding him to the 40-man roster this winter. He received a good look in camp as well, seeing action in 10 games and slashing .333/.429/.500. The 24-year-old will return to New Hampshire and look to push his way to Buffalo at some point this season, but he doesn’t figure to be in the Major League plan this year unless something goes wrong further up the depth charts.
3/8/14 – Pitcher Liam Hendriks optioned to Triple-A Buffalo
3/8/14 – Pitcher Mickey Storey optioned to Triple-A Buffalo
3/10/14 – Pitcher Deck McGuire optioned to Triple-A Buffalo
3/10/14 – Pitcher Rob Rasmussen optioned to Triple-A Buffalo
Hendriks looked good in his two outings this spring, but ultimately was signed as roster depth. Given his history in the Major Leagues, Hendricks likely won’t be the first call-up if a spot start is needed, but a strong showing in Buffalo could improve that standing.
Storey made three appearances in Toronto last season, but ultimately spent most of the season in Buffalo’s bullpen, posting a 2.56 ERA and a 10.6 K/9 for the Bisons in 59.2 innings of work. With the Blue Jays relief depth, he was one of the easiest cuts this spring.
What a change of opinion on Deck McGuire. The former first round pick has spent three rather unsuccessful seasons in New Hampshire, but made some mechanical changes at the end of last season that seemed to impress the front office. That impression protected him from the Rule 5 draft this winter when the Blue Jays surprisingly added him to the 40-man roster, and it continued on Monday when they assigned McGuire to Buffalo to start the season. Given his one outing this spring (1.1 IP, 4ER), one has to assume that the team is looking to see how Deck will respond with a change of scenery.
Rasmussen was the last of the pitching contingent sent to Buffalo this week. The soon to be 25-year-old was picked up as part of the deal that brought Eric Kratz to Toronto for Brad Lincoln, but needs some work in the upper minors to prove that he can contribute at the big league level. His first go-round at Triple-A came last season with the Dodgers, but the Blue Jays are hoping his 6.46 ERA there was a blip courtesy of the Pacific Coast League.
Stay tuned, as more cuts are on the way.