Toronto Blue Jays: Harris and Baker Depart to New Clubs

TAMPA, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 28: Bryan Baker #79 of the Toronto Blue Jays throws a pitch during the seventh inning against the New York Yankees during a spring training game at George M. Steinbrenner Field on February 28, 2021 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images)
TAMPA, FLORIDA - FEBRUARY 28: Bryan Baker #79 of the Toronto Blue Jays throws a pitch during the seventh inning against the New York Yankees during a spring training game at George M. Steinbrenner Field on February 28, 2021 in Tampa, Florida. (Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images) /
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The World Series has concluded, and free agency has begun.  The Toronto Blue Jays lose two minor league arms in Hobie Harris and Bryan Baker.

The fun rollercoaster of Major League Baseball free agency is underway, with qualifying offers being presented, declined, and players entering the pay-day market.  Off the bat, the Toronto Blue Jays find two of their farm-arms departing to other teams. Right-hander Hobie Harris has signed as a free agent with the Milwaukee Brewers as a non-roster invitee.  Right-handed relief pitcher Bryan Baker was claimed off of waivers by the Baltimore Orioles.

What did the Blue Jays Lose?

RHP Hobie Harris

Harris was a name I expected to see in the big leagues in 2022 at the Rogers Center. The Blue Jays selected him in the Rule 5 draft in December of 2019 from the New York Yankees system, which drafted him in 2015.  This guy had very strong potential, as I was generous in his well-deserved grade scale.  Harris had a fastball touching up to 99 on the gun, sitting at a consistent 95-96mph with a changeup and slider as a semi-consistent out pitch. He spent 2021 with the Blue Jays AAA club, Buffalo Bisons. This year, he went 5-2 with a 3.92 ERA, with 8 saves, 51 strikeouts over 43.2 innings.  He totaled a career 16-16 in minor league ball with a total of 17 saves.  Where would he have fit with the big club? Anywhere in relief, set-up or a back–up closer.  Harris could have been a strong bullpen-day pitcher, giving 3-4 innings on the front or back end of a game.

RHP Bryan Baker

Baker was drafted twice; the 40th round of the 2013 draft by Pittsburgh and the 11th round in 2016 by Colorado.  The towering 6’6” right-hander was acquired by the Jays in 2018 and was invited as a non-rostered player to spring training in July of 2020 and later assigned to the Buffalo Bisons. Baker showed improved numbers this year, compared to his 2-stint assignments in 2019 combined.  He finished 6-1 in AAA Buffalo with a 1.31 with 11 saves in 13 opportunities.

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He threw 41.1 innings striking out 48, only allowing 18 hits and 6 earned runs.  This arm would have been in similar use to Hobie Harris; a bullpen guy with a lot of leverage. The 26-year old appeared in only 1 game with the big club this year, securing a much-needed September win against Oakland.  Baker will take his talents within the American League East with the Baltimore Orioles.

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