With Kendrys Morales heading to the DL with a hamstring injury, the Jays decided to fortify their bullpen, calling up southpaw reliever Tim Mayza ahead of Wednesday’s contest in Baltimore.
Several have criticized the Toronto Blue Jays for not having enough bullpen depth, most notably from the left side. It’s true that the Jays opened season with Aaron Loup as the only lefty in their pen. While the injury to Kendrys Morales is not something to celebrate, it has allowed the Jays to address one of the major concerns of this young season.
It’s not so much Tim Mayza (MLB career: 17.0 IP, 6.88 ERA, 1.647 WHIP, 27 SO), but more so what he represents. With him on the roster, the Jays can use Loup as a situational lefty without fear of losing their only southpaw for the remainder of the game.
So far, righties have pitched 33.2 out of the 37.1 relief innings this year. Seeing as Loup is the only lefty in the pen, it’s likely this trend will continue. Until Morales returns, Mayza could take some of the load of off Loup and the other righties that have worked more innings than expected in the early going.
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Strategically, this move gives John Gibbons a lot of versatility in his relievers. It’ll also give opposing hitters a different look. Loup is a soft-tossing hurler who relies mostly on his movement to get hitters out, while Mayza can throw as hard as 95 MPH and sports a drastically different delivery and windup.
Now, this isn’t to suggest that the addition of Mayza, a fringe major leaguer, will turn this team into the next division winner, but it shows that the front office is playing smart. Although many fans would’ve hoped for the return of Teoscar Hernandez, it doesn’t seem as though that would’ve been the smartest move.
In Mayza, the Jays not only have him but an extra slot in the pen that they could play around with. He could be used in a mop-up role or could serve as a LOOGY against some tough left-handed hitters that seem to crowd the scary AL East.