Blue Jays make some roster moves; Katoh designated for assignment

CLEARWATER, FLORIDA - MARCH 19: Gosuke Katoh #75 of the Toronto Blue Jays bats against the Philadelphia Phillies in a Spring Training game at BayCare Ballpark on March 19, 2022 in Clearwater, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images)
CLEARWATER, FLORIDA - MARCH 19: Gosuke Katoh #75 of the Toronto Blue Jays bats against the Philadelphia Phillies in a Spring Training game at BayCare Ballpark on March 19, 2022 in Clearwater, Florida. (Photo by Mark Brown/Getty Images) /
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Prior to yesterday’s series finale against the New York Yankees, the Toronto Blue Jays announced a few roster changes that had some Jays fans not too pleased with the business side of baseball.

The club announced that right-handed reliever Casey Lawrence had his contract selected from AAA while southpaw Andrew Vasquez was optioned down to make room for him on the active roster. Unfortunately, to make room for Lawrence on the 40-man roster, the front office designated utility player and fan favourite Gosuke Katoh for assignment.

Katoh signed a minor-league deal with the Blue Jays this past offseason after spending his entire career down in the minor leagues with the Yankees and San Diego Padres. Katoh had a great Spring Training and ended up winning a spot on the Opening Day roster, a move that was short-lived as he would be optioned to Buffalo a few days later.

https://twitter.com/BlueJays/status/1521942910505295873

The lefty batter would rejoin the club shortly after the demotion with the various injuries and be used sparingly as a pinch-runner with a few spot starts. He would collect his first big league hit and would go 2 for 7 with one double and three walks before being DFA’d yesterday.

Katoh became a favourite amongst the fanbases due to his perseverance in grinding away at the MiLB level and finally getting a shot in the Majors. As well, Katoh was active on social media and won fans over early, especially when he was using former Jays pitcher Robbie Ray’s pants during Spring Training and using Rick Astley’s, “Never Going to Give You Up”, as his walk-up song.

The Toronto Blue Jays made a trio of roster moves prior to the evening game yesterday, DFA Gosuke Katoh while also calling up RHP Casey Lawrence.

Heading to Toronto is veteran Casey Lawrence, a right-hander who spent last season in the Jays’ minor league system after starting the year playing Independent Ball for the York Revolution and rejoined the club this year on a minor league deal. So far in AAA in 2022, Lawrence has been solid out of the rotation, crafting a 2.82 ERA through four starts while limiting opposing hitters to a 2.11 batting average. He also owns a 0.94 WHIP while striking out 18 batters through 22.1 innings of work.

This is Lawrence’s first taste of big-league action since 2018 when he was with the Seattle Mariners, as he spent the 2019 campaign in the Nippon Professional Baseball league overseas in Japan. For his career, the Pennsylvania product has amassed a 6.64 ERA through 78.2 innings split between the rotation and bullpen, collecting 7.6 K/9 in the process. He also came up through the Blue Jays organization and made his MLB debut with the club back in 2017, earning an 8.78 ERA through four appearances.

Vasquez heads back down to AAA in a corresponding roster move, as the left-hander has been used briefly and has surrendered four earned runs through 2.1 innings of work, seeing his ERA climb to 15.43.

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The unfortunate roster crunch sees a fan favourite in Katoh get DFA’d with some more transactions potentially on the horizon from an active roster standpoint with Teoscar Hernandez set to return soon followed by Hyun Jin Ryu, Danny Jansen, and Ryan Borucki.