The Blue Jays had to make a tough decision on Thursday afternoon, designating Anthony Alford for assignment in order to activate Trent Thornton.
It was a day that I had hoped wouldn’t come for Anthony Alford and the Blue Jays in 2020, but unfortunately time may have finally ran out on his Blue Jays’ tenure.
The talented 26-year-old was active for the first game of the double-header with the Phillies on Thursday afternoon, but the Blue Jays made a roster adjustment and announcement ahead of the second contest. They had activated Billy McKinney and gave him the start in the first game, and rather than return him to the taxi squad they elected to DFA Alford to activate Trent Thornton from the injured list, who drew the start in the back-half on Thursday.
It’s still possible that the Blue Jays could work out a trade to send Alford to another organization, and that way they wouldn’t lose him for nothing. More likely, there’s a pretty good chance that he’ll be claimed by another club and be lost on the waiver wire. That was arguably the reason he had survived roster cuts to this point, as being out of minor league options meant that he had to remain active, or be DFA’d in order to put someone else in his place on the big league roster.
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If that’s the end of the line for Alford in Toronto, it was a frustrating run for the former two-sport athlete. Despite flashing all kinds of raw skill over the years, he’s struggled to put everything together, mostly because of a number of injuries that have held him back. He was selected back in the 3rd round of the 2012 draft, and spent time near the top of the prospects list for the Blue Jays at various times. However, in more recent years he’s lost his prospect shine as he’s gotten older, and as scouts have wondered if he’d ever find consistency, or even opportunity at the highest level.
Oddly enough, despite the fact that he’s appeared in four different seasons for the Blue Jays (2017-20), he’s only had a total of 71 at-bats in the big leagues (75 plate appearances). Over that spread out span he’s slashed .155/.200/.254 with two home runs, one double, and six stolen bases.
It was never about what Alford had been able to accomplish, but rather it was the potential that was obvious, even to the untrained eye. If I’m being honest, I can understand why the Blue Jays decided to move on, and who knows, perhaps he’ll slip through waivers and get another chance before he’s done with the organization. That said, I had always hoped for a different ending.
However, it looks like his time is up with the Jays, and while I’ll curse the baseball gods when it finally happens, I wish him well and look forward to watching him find success in another uniform. Here’s hoping he doesn’t turn into another Gio Urshela with the Yankees.