It is reported that Indians pitching prospect Julian Merryweather will be the player to be named later coming back to the Blue Jays in the Josh Donaldson trade.
According to Fancred’s Jon Heyman, the Blue Jays are going to be acquiring right-handed pitcher Julian Merryweather from the Cleveland Indians in order to complete the Josh Donaldson deal. Previously, Shi Davidi of Sportsnet and Paul Hoynes of Cleveland.com both suggested Merryweather was possibly included in the deal.
Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins spoke highly of the unknown PTBNL, noting that it would be a piece that would provide rather short-term help to the big league roster. Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet additionally noted that the PTBNL would be of “some value”.
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The terms of the PTBNL announcement are complicated. Cleveland must send the player (now widely thought to be Merryweather) to the Jays by January 30, 2019, but, according to Nicholson-Smith, the player would be named “well before that”. Unsurprisingly, the Blue Jays knew the identity of the player upon agreeing to the deal.
Now the attention of many Blue Jays fans turns to Merryweather, a 26-year-old California native, who, before undergoing Tommy John surgery, was Cleveland’s 12th ranked prospect. Drafted in the fifth round of the 2014 draft, the product of Oklahoma Baptist University has logged over 375 minor league innings since being drafted.
Most recently, he tossed 128.2 innings for the Triple-A Columbus Clippers and the Double-A Akron RubberDucks, pitching to an ERA of 5.32 while striking out 128. Prior to that, he’d pitched to a solid 2.60 ERA season split between Akron and High-A Lynchburg.
If the player to be named later does end up being Merryweather, the Blue Jays will have acquired an interesting piece. Though undoubtedly talented, the fact that he recently underwent the always ominous Tommy John surgery always raises red flags among fans and scouts alike. The road to recovery is long ahead, but if the Jays stick with him, it could be worth it in the end.
Merryweather’s scouting report, courtesy of MLB Pipeline, praises him for his plus fastball and “promising” secondary pitches that include a curveball and a changeup.