In need of some extra pitching reinforcements due to so many injuries, the Toronto Blue Jays are bringing back a familiar face to the organization.
His first go-around with the Jays was fairly short-lived, but this time around Casey Lawrence hopes to stick with the club that gave him his first big league opportunity back in 2017.
The 33-year-old right-hander appeared in four games for the Blue Jays that season, including making two starts. It didn’t go terribly well as he posted a 8.78 ERA and a 2.400 WHIP over just 13.1 innings pitched, but he didn’t have much time to turn things around in Toronto. That same season he was claimed off of waivers by the Seattle Mariners, and he ended up pitching in 23 games for them that year, and another 11 in 2018 before his big league career came to a close at the time.
After that, Lawrence made his way to Japan to pitch in the notable Nippon Professional League where several notable MLB players have spent some time, including former Blue Jay Justin Smoak, who is playing there right now. Unfortunately Lawrence didn’t exactly dominate in Japan either, as he had a 4.80 ERA across 22 appearances in 2019. After that experience, Lawrence came back to North America last year and spent time at the Minnesota Twins alternate training site, but didn’t make an appearance in the big leagues.
For the Blue Jays this is likely not much more than a depth move, although we’ve watched Ross Atkins find diamonds in the rough before with his pitching staff, and Pete Walker seems to have a way of bringing out the best in lesser known arms. Still, given Lawrence’s track record and age, he’ll likely serve as more of a safety net as an arm capable of throwing multiple innings, and that skill set could land him a few big league appearances at some point.
I’m sure Blue Jays fans would rather see a bigger name acquired to bolster the staff, but as the old saying goes, you can never have too much pitching.