Toronto Blue Jays News

Former Blue Jays currently playing in the Nippon Professional Baseball league

BALTIMORE, MARYLAND - JUNE 20: Tyler Chatwood #34 of the Toronto Blue Jays pitches against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on June 20, 2021 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images)
BALTIMORE, MARYLAND - JUNE 20: Tyler Chatwood #34 of the Toronto Blue Jays pitches against the Baltimore Orioles at Oriole Park at Camden Yards on June 20, 2021 in Baltimore, Maryland. (Photo by G Fiume/Getty Images) /
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ST PETERSBURG, FLORIDA – SEPTEMBER 29: Matt Shoemaker #34 of the Toronto Blue Jays pitches during the Wild Card Round Game One against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field on September 29, 2020 in St Petersburg, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images) /

Yomiuri Giants

Shun Yamaguchi – RHP

After signing a two-year deal in the 2019/2020 offseason with the Blue Jays, Shun Yamaguchi struggled out of the bullpen the following shortened season, earning an 8.06 ERA through 17 appearances with a 6.0 BB/9 and a 1.753 WHIP. The Jays would DFA Yamaguchi before the 2021 campaign and the right-hander signed with the San Francisco Giants. He spent the year in AAA and was released by the club in early June.

Yamaguchi returned to the NPB and rejoined the Yomiuri Giants, a team he spent three seasons with prior to joining the Blue Jays. This season, Yamaguchi started the year in the Eastern League as a middle reliever and has just one appearance with the Giants in the Central League, pitching two innings without giving up a hit and striking out four compared to two walks. He reportedly left this outing with an unspecified injury.

Matt Shoemaker – RHP

Hampered by injuries throughout his MLB career, Matt Shoemaker was cruising through the 2019 season before an ACL injury ended his year. He struggled with a shoulder injury the following season and fashioned a 4.71 ERA through six starts in the shortened campaign. He would spend the 2021 season split between the Minnesota Twins and San Francisco Giants and this past offseason he decided to take his talents overseas to the Yomiuri Giants.

Through eight starts, Shoemaker has found a groove in Japan, currently sporting a 3.28 ERA with 34 strikeouts through 46.2 innings of work. While his 6.6 K/9 is not going to top the stats charts, he has one complete game on the season and has a 0.943 WHIP on the season while walking batters at a 2.1 BB/9.

Gregory Polanco – OF

A long-time member of the Pittsburgh Pirates, Gregory Polanco spent the tail end of the 2021 campaign in Buffalo on a MiLB deal and put up great numbers (.374/.436/.747 slash line, nine home runs, and a 1.183 OPS).

Polanco decided this past offseason to sign with the Yomiuri Giants instead of waiting for the lockout to end for an MLB deal or signing a MiLB deal. This may have been a great move for Polanco to get some more playing time and establish himself as a big-league player again.

With the Giants, the lefty batter owns a .277/.341/.456 slash line through 59 games and has added nine home runs, 19 RBI, and a .797 OPS. A gamble that may pay off for the former Buffalo Bisons outfielder.

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