Blue Jays triple-down on optioned pitchers, pen struggles at the heart of moves


After another meltdown in the bullpen, the Toronto Blue Jays did the next most logical thing. They scrapped a few arms in order to find other answers.

According to a Twitter release from the club, the Blue Jays have optioned pitchers Scott Copeland, Phil Coke, and Ryan Tepera to triple-A Buffalo and will subsequently make yet unnamed corresponding roster moves.

In regards to Copeland, it was almost a foregone conclusion. What was meant to be a one-time emergency start turned into three turns through the rotation as Aaron Sanchez has been slow to return from a lat strain. The first of those three appearances was outstanding, with Copeland throwing seven innings of six-hit ball, allowing one run and striking out four against the Marlins.

Unfortunately, the two starts since have been horrible. In 5.1 innings combined against the Mets and Orioles, Copeland has allowed 16 hits and 10 earned runs while striking out just two batters. On the bright side, he hasn’t allowed any walks, but Copeland’s inability to miss bats has allowed his last two opponents to tee off on him.

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Phil Coke and Ryan Tepera may be a different story, with the need for fresh arms dictating who needed to be sent down to make room for them.

Coke has only made two appearances since signing being recalled by the Blue Jays on June 11th, allowing one earned run on Sunday. Tepera on the other hand has been fairly solid out of the bullpen, posting a 2.77 ERA and striking out 10 over his 13 innings of work for the big club. Unfortunately for the pair of them, the Blue Jays need fresh arms and the pair of Coke and Tepera have options available.

Of course, the question comes as to how the Blue Jays play their recalls. We know that second baseman Devon Travis is ready and available to be recalled. However, he doesn’t solve the pitching needs.

Ideally, Toronto would be making a move to bolster the bullpen, preferably from outside the organization. However, given the short-term need to refresh the arms, the Blue Jays may not have the opportunity to make such a move. That means the team is more than likely going to recall from a pool that includes Miguel Castro, Chad Jenkins, Colt Hynes, Rob Rasmussen, or perhaps even Daniel Norris. However, if Norris were to get the call, he would be taking Copeland’s spot in the rotation until Sanchez returns.

Miguel Castro would normally be the most likely candidate, but he’s been less than spectacular at Triple-A. Since being sent down to Buffalo, where he’s made five starts, the right-hander has allowed just four earned runs over 11.2 innings of work. While he’s struck-out 15 batters over that span, he’s also walked eight and surrendered three home runs.

That said, your guess is as good as mine. We’ll see where the chips fall in the morning I suppose.

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