Last night, the Blue Jays made a move that has a definite impact on the 40-man roster. Right-hander Bowden Francis, who was added to the roster prior in order to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft that got cancelled the last offseason, cleared outright waivers and was assigned to AAA while being removed from the 40-man roster.
This was a calculated move that frees up a roster spot, as the club was maxed out prior to the outright assignment for Francis. The former Milwaukee Brewers prospect has struggled this season in Buffalo, owning a 7.78 ERA on the year while splitting his time between the bullpen and the rotation.
As of the middle of May, Francis has been moved to a relief role and this may be his permanent position moving forward. The Florida product did get promoted to the Jays squad back in late April/early May and made one appearance, 0.2 innings while allowing one hit and one strikeout against Boston, before being optioned back down.
With the open roster spot, Blue Jays fans on social media started to speculate who the club was going to add to the 40-man roster. The consensus pick seemed to be Nate Pearson, as he is currently on the 60-day IL and would require a roster spot in order to be promoted from AAA. Another name that appeared was Adrian Hernandez, a right-handed reliever who owns a stellar 1.42 ERA through 17 appearances with the Bisons this season. However, it appears that the club has decided to go an alternative route rather than promote either Pearson or Hernandez.
The Blue Jays made a few roster moves last night, outrighting Bowden Francis from the 40-man while reportedly set to call up Max Castillo from AAA.
According to analyst Alfonso E. Saer Gómez, the Blue Jays are set to call up right-hander Max Castillo from AAA. The 23-year-old has been a member of the Jays organization since signing with the club out of Venezuela back in 2015 and starting his professional career in the Dominican Summer League back in 2016. He has continually worked his way through every level of the Minor League system and this season, Castillo has impressed enough that the Blue Jays want to give him a shot at the big league level.
Starting the year in AA New Hampshire, Castillo was promoted after six starts and 29.0 innings and so far in Buffalo, he has only gotten better. Through five appearances (three starts), the 6’2″ 280 lb right-hander has allowed just two earned runs through 27.1 innings of work while striking out 29 batters and holding down a 0.73 WHIP. His last two outings have followed an opener and he still went 4.0+ innings in both contests.
By adding Castillo to the 40-man roster, the Blue Jays roster will once again be full until an official move is made to put Hyun Jin Ryu on the 60-day IL, as he is out for the rest of the season (and potentially next) after undergoing Tommy John surgery earlier this week. This could be the move that brings Pearson back to the 40-man or the club could go another route and bring in a pitcher like Hernandez, depending on which option they choose to go with.
Calling up Castillo is a smart move considering he is pitching well and is able to give the Jays multiple innings as required. He hasn’t pitched since June 14th so he should be rested and ready to go today if the Jays need some innings from the Venezuelan product.