Blue Jays: Have we seen the last of Derek Fisher?

BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - SEPTEMBER 06: Derek Fisher #23 of the Toronto Blue Jays looks on during the fifth inning against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on September 06, 2020 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
BOSTON, MASSACHUSETTS - SEPTEMBER 06: Derek Fisher #23 of the Toronto Blue Jays looks on during the fifth inning against the Boston Red Sox at Fenway Park on September 06, 2020 in Boston, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images) /
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The Blue Jays released their 40-man player pool for the post-season, and while several other injured players were included, Derek Fisher was not.

While the Blue Jays were on the receiving end of another beating from the Yankees on Tuesday night, their magic number to reach the playoffs still shrunk with another Seattle Mariner loss. They still have some work to do to secure their place, but things are looking good with that number down to two with just five games remaining in their regular season schedule.

With that in mind, the Blue Jays were among the teams that had to name a 40-man player pool ahead of the post-season, when teams that qualify will enter into a bubble and operate under new conditions thanks to the Covid-19 pandemic. There were some pleasant surprises like the inclusion of currently injured players like Rowdy Tellez, Nate Pearson, and Jordan Romano, but there was one notable absence with no Derek Fisher on the list.

The former Astro is currently on the Injured List after getting hit with a pitch last week during a simulated game. The assumption was that the injury was fairly minor, but Fisher is not listed like others that could potentially return, like the Blue Jays including Rowdy Tellez in case he gets healthy enough to contribute. That’s a bit of a surprise on both sides, but for Fisher it either means that his injury is worse than we thought, or perhaps the Blue Jays decided that he wasn’t going to be included on the post-season roster at this point. It wasn’t long ago that I wrote about how his time in Toronto (or Buffalo) could be running out, and I may have been correct for once.

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It’s been another difficult year for Fisher, as he only played in 16 games around a pair of trips to the IL. He didn’t exactly thrive during his limited opportunity either, hitting just .226/.359/.452 across just 31 at-bats. It was encouraging that he took seven walks and posted a .359 on-base percentage, but he also struck out 11 times, which is far too high of a rate.

Even worse than his struggles at the plate, Fisher had arguably reached a point of being borderline unplayable on defence. Unfortunately the standout inning of his season for Blue Jays fans will be the two very catchable balls he dropped against the Yankees last week, which kickstarted a huge inning and a very ugly series all around. Obviously Fisher’s not to blame for all that went sideways, but there was no excuse for that shoddy defence.

That said, does he still have a future in Toronto? My guess is that his time is probably up as a Blue Jay, although we may not know that for quite some time. He is out of minor league options, and without taking any real strides at the highest level, it’s hard to imagine the Blue Jays will continue to keep a spot on the MLB roster for him. That’s especially the case as Teoscar Hernandez and Lourdes Gurriel Jr. have taken steps forward, and Randal Grichuk has had a decent season as well.

In my opinion it’s pretty telling that the Blue Jays didn’t even include him on the 40-man player pool roster, instead adding Josh Palacios as outfield depth. Perhaps Fisher’s injury is much worse than we thought, but I also can’t blame management if they’ve lost faith in him for the time being, especially as he remains on the sidelines. He left off at a pretty low point prior to his injury, and asking him to jump back in and succeed during the playoffs would be just setting him up for failure.

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Fisher won’t even be arbitration eligible for the first time until 2022, so it’s possible that the Blue Jays give him one last audition next spring and hope that he can finally put things together. For now though, it looks like we may have seen the last of him in a Blue Jays uniform for 2020, and likely for good.

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