Blue Jays claim Donn Roach, Saunders to 60-day DL


The Toronto Blue Jays have done some minor tinkering on the waiver wire today ahead of their series against the Texas Rangers in Arlington. Right-handed pitcher Donn Roach has been claimed off waivers from the Cincinnati Reds. The Blue Jays have also transferred injured outfielder Michael Saunders to the 60-day DL, thus closing the book on his 2015 season. 

Standing 6’0″, 195 pounds, Roach was selected in the third round of the 2010 MLB amateur draft by the Los Angeles Angels, then moved to the San Diego Padres with Alexi Amarista in 2012 in exchange for Ernesto Frieri. The Cubs would later claim of off waivers in November of 2014 before the Reds did the same just over a month ago. At first glance, Roach’s numbers aren’t terribly appealing, but he does one thing very well that could fit the Blue Jays strategy.

Roach keeps the ball on the ground. His 33.2 career innings at the MLB level shouldn’t be given too great of a consideration, but over 580.0 Minor League innings he’s allowed just 0.4 HR/9. That’s one pretty number.

Across the Cubs and Reds AAA teams in 2015, Roach has started 22 ball games while recording a 3.50 ERA and 1.244 WHIP. His career K/9 was already very low at 5.8, but that’s crashed down to the level of 3.5 this season. Not the most encouraging sign, but he’s brought his BB/9 totals down along with it.

Given the recent departures of Daniel Norris and Matt Boyd at the August 31st non-waiver trade deadline, the Blue Jays’ were thin on second-tier pitching depth. Marcus Stroman has come to represent a ray of hope late in the season, but with the club selling off Randy Wolf to the Detroit Tigers, the AAA Buffalo Bisons need a hand. That’s what Roach represents, and it wouldn’t be terribly surprising if he’s at least considered for a promotion next week when rosters expand.

For Saunders, this move is disheartening despite being expected for many weeks. His recovery from a freak knee injury in the spring followed the narrative of all-too-many baseball injuries. One month away, then another month away, and then the season is gone. He’ll return to a crowded outfield picture next season with Ben Revere and Dalton Pompey sure to be involved, but 2015 has shown us that Toronto will need all the depth they can get in left.

Alex Anthopoulos still may not be done adding to this roster, and is rumored to still be monitoring options to pair with Revere in left field for the home stretch. I’m still slightly baffled that they haven’t promoted Pompey, but he’ll surely be joining the big club on September 1st.

Next: Blue Jays finally seeing the real Revere!

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