Toronto Blue Jays News

Blue Jays: Starting pitcher Tanner Roark gets designated for assignment

Mar 6, 2021; Dunedin, Florida, USA; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Tanner Roark (14) delivers a pitch in the 1st inning of the spring training game against the Philadelphia Phillies at TD Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports
Mar 6, 2021; Dunedin, Florida, USA; Toronto Blue Jays starting pitcher Tanner Roark (14) delivers a pitch in the 1st inning of the spring training game against the Philadelphia Phillies at TD Ballpark. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports /
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Signing a two-year deal with the Toronto Blue Jays back in the 2019/2020 off-season, starting pitcher Tanner Roark was known for pitching deep into games and eating up innings, pitching below 4.00 ERA for his career prior to joining the bluebirds.

With the return of Teoscar Hernandez from the injured list today, Tanner Roark has been designated for assignment to open up a spot on the roster, ending a very rocky tenure that just saw the right-hander never find his groove since joining the Blue Jays organization.

What transpired for Roark since joining the Blue Jays was the exact opposite of what the player is known for, with the right-hander struggling to keep the ball from being crushed over the fence and not being able to pitch multiple times through the batting order, taxing the bullpen and just creating a lot of problems for the Blue Jays pitching corps.

Since signing with Toronto, Roark has a 6.75 ERA in 14 appearances, 12 of which he started. In 54.2 innings of work, the “diesel engine” has surrendered 17 home runs and 41 earned runs while walking 25 and striking out 46.

This season saw Roark be moved to the bullpen after a rough first outing before heading to the Family Medical Emergency list earlier this week. With the Illinois native being designated for assignment, the Blue Jays now have seven days to trade or put Roark on outright waivers, with there being a slim chance that another team willing to take on his $12 million dollar salary this season. Once the seven days are over, the Blue Jays can outright him to AAA or release him, but the veteran can decline the minor league movement as he has enough service time to declare for free agency.

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At the time, the Roark signing was a bit of an overpay but made sense given that the Blue Jays roster was on the younger side with most of the core players being on the younger side of 25. He has a pretty clean track record and has been known for his ability to pitch 5-7 innings per outing, but that never transpired when he suited up for the Jays. He was never able to keep the fastball down and opposing hitters just fed off of him, hitting the ball hard and over the fence more often than not.

With Roark being DFA’d, his tenure as a Blue Jay is most likely over but he could choose to head to the minor leagues if he wants to keep playing and no other team picks him up waivers. Free agency seems more likely given how he just hasn’t pitched well since signing North of the border and the Blue Jays may just want to sever ties for good, letting the prospects get more innings in AAA.

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Having him as a depth option wouldn’t be the worse thing in the world considering the Blue Jays will be paying his salary this season anyway, but fans may hope for a breakup between both parties, a relationship that soured with every ball hit over the outfield fence.

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