There could be some reasonably valuable players that become available because of being DFA’d by their old teams, but I’m not sure how much roster room the Blue Jays will have to play with unless the right opportunity comes along.
I say this because the other day I was asked a question on Twitter by @iwill_travel, who had noticed that the Angels had designated Jesse Chavez for assignment. He was curious if I thought the Blue Jays might be interested, and after thinking about it for a few minutes I realized it wasn’t a simple question.
It was a bit surprising that Chavez ended up being DFA’d, mostly because he hasn’t been that bad this season by any means. He finished up his campaign with the Angels with a 3.62 ERA over 45 games, covering 54.2 innings. Since then he has been claimed by the Atlanta Braves, which is a nice break for the veteran as he’ll now have a chance to be part of a World Series contender during the stretch run and likely deep into the postseason.
As I considered whether the Blue Jays would be interested in Chavez (before Atlanta had claimed him), my initial reaction was “why not?”. It’s not that easy to find quality pitching at this point in the season, and Chavez is a familiar face with a recent history of success. After thinking about it further, I wasn’t so sure that the Blue Jays would be interested. The biggest reason is that they would have to make room for Chavez on both the 26 and 40-man roster, and that wouldn’t be the easiest thing to do right now.
The Blue Jays currently have a bullpen depth chart that looks like this:
1- Jordan Romano
2- Yimi Garcia
3- Anthony Bass
4- Tim Mayza
5- Adam Cimber
6- David Phelps
7- Trevor Richards
8- Yusei Kikuchi
They could certainly look at sending Kikuchi to the minors to work on his command issues, especially because he’s already said he’d agree to such a thing, or at least felt that way a couple weeks ago. However, the Blue Jays seem to be reluctant to make that move for one reason or another. They also have Zach Pop sitting in Buffalo as MLB-ready depth, and there could be others like Julian Merryweather, or maybe, just maybe Nate Pearson could factor into the equation before the end of the year. Otherwise, they’d have to DFA one of their own unless they were sending Mayza or Cimber down, which isn’t going to happen right now.
We’ve already seen the Blue Jays make a few late roster tweaks, first by DFA-ing Bradley Zimmer to make room for Jackie Bradley Jr., and now claiming Zimmer back from the Phillies a few days ago. I’m sure they’ll look for opportunities to work around the edges of their roster, but it’s not going to be easy to add unless they’re willing to make a subtraction. Of course there are upgrades that exist out there, but I’m not sure that we’ll see too many valuable players coming available that would be better than what they already have on their rosters.
I’m not at all saying that Ross Atkins and company won’t or shouldn’t continue to keep their eyes on the waiver wire, but with the current set-up of the 40-man roster, it’s going to be tough to find room. I realize that’s a weird thing to say for a team that still has some obvious holes to fill, but we’re coming down to the wire here, and that’s just the time of year we’re dealing with.