Feb 25, 2014; Dunedin, FL, USA; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Marcus Walden (67) poses for a photo at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
The Toronto Blue Jays lost a little bit of minor league pitching depth on Wednesday, as the Oakland Athletics have claimed right-hander Marcus Walden off of waivers, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. The move comes just one day after Walden was designated for assignment in order to make room on the 40-man roster for Munenori Kawasaki.
The loss of Walden, while small, will be a strong lesson for Alex Anthopoulos to learn. The 25-year-old right-hander was called up on April 5th after the Blue Jays designated Jeremy Jeffress for assignment. Initially, that roster spot was to go to Chad Jenkins, but since Jenkins was on the 40-man roster and had been optioned down to Buffalo at the end of the spring, he hadn’t spent the prerequisite 10 days in the minors before being open for another call-up. In their haste to fill the roster spot, the Jays plucked Walden and he sat on the bench for 10 days until Neil Wagner could be summoned up.
A 7-year minor league veteran of the Blue Jays system, Walden was drafted in the 9th round of the 2007 draft and spent his first 5 seasons pitching at A-Ball or lower. In 2013, he finally made the jump to Double-A and threw respectively with a 3.71 ERA despite a middling 4.9 K/9 ratio. Over his career, Walden owns a 32-33 record with a 3.73 ERA, a 2.9 BB/9, and a 5.4 K/9 ratio.
Walden also received his first invitation to spring training this past February, but was unimpressive, giving up 5 runs and 10 hits in 6 innings of work.
It’s hard to see what role he can play in Oakland outside of organizational depth. However, it could just be Billy Beane teaching Anthopoulos a lesson for not knowing the option rules.