The Blue Jays claimed Zack Godley from the Arizona Diamondbacks, and while the 29-year-old has struggled this year, this pickup makes a lot of sense.
You can’t blame the Blue Jays’ front office for trading away pitching assets like Marcus Stroman, Aaron Sanchez, Joe Biagini, David Phelps, and Daniel Hudson, even if you didn’t think they received enough in return.
Regardless, the question for Charlie Montoyo and the Blue Jays’ coaching staff was who would throw the innings they need to cover to get through the rest of this season? The Jays called up some young arms like Sean Reid-Foley and activated Trent Thornton to help, but even in a rebuilding year there was a need for some extra depth. That’s one of the reasons why the claim of Zack Godley from waivers on Wednesday makes so much sense for a team in need of pitching.
Even if the Blue Jays feels really good about the young arms they have, there is a lot of baseball yet to be played in 2019, and they aren’t going to want to push anyone beyond their appropriate innings limits. Trent Thornton, for example, is already nearing a career high, and will likely be shut down before the end of the season if history is any indication.
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It doesn’t help that it looks like Ryan Borucki might end up missing an extended period of time as well, and I imagine that had a lot to do with the Blue Jays making a claim on Godley. The Arizona Diamondbacks made him available after he’d struggled throughout this season, as he’s posted a 6.39 ERA in 27 appearances, including nine starts. While those are ugly numbers, the 29-year-old is an intriguing change of scenario candidate, especially because he was pretty effective in 2017, and reasonably so last year as well.
In 25 starts (and one relief appearance) in 2017, Godley posted a 3.37 ERA and a 1.142 WHIP over 155 innings pitched. He struck out 165 batters against 53 walks, and was an effective and emerging starter at 27 years old. Last year he was 15-11 with a 4.74 ERA in 32 starts, but unfortunately the downward trend has continued into this season.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not suggesting that the Blue Jays have found themselves with a foundational piece of their future rotation here, but Godley is definitely worth taking a look at, and in a worst case scenario he’ll help them eat some innings. I mean, this is a team that gave Edwin Jackson five starts and eight appearances with an 11.12 ERA, and that was when they still had Stroman and Sanchez in the rotation.
He also comes very cheap, as he’s making $609,400 this year, and the Blue Jays will only owe him the remainder prorated amount of that for the 45 games they have remaining. If he performs well enough to warrant as much, they have the option to keep him around as well, as he has three years of arbitration eligibility left after this season.
Without the ability to make any trades in August, the Blue Jays don’t have a lot of options to help their rotation get through the final 25-30% of the season. There have been encouraging signs from guys like Thornton, Jacob Waguespack, Thomas Pannone, Reid-Foley, and possibly others, but having an experienced arm like Godley will help. Considering all of the factors, it’s not much of a risk, and certainly one worth taking.