Blue Jays announce pair of roster moves prior to Saturday’s action against Nationals

Apr 22, 2024; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Kevin Kiermaier (39)
Apr 22, 2024; Kansas City, Missouri, USA; Toronto Blue Jays outfielder Kevin Kiermaier (39) / Jay Biggerstaff-USA TODAY Sports

The Toronto Blue Jays possess one of the best defensive outfield alignments in recent memory. The group consisting of Daulton Varsho, Kevin Kiermaier and George Springer form one of the most defensively sound trios we've seen in quite some time, and not just on the Blue Jays.

On Saturday, the Blue Jays took to social media (X link) to formally announce that Kiermaier has been activated from the injured list. Heading back to Triple-A Buffalo is outfielder Nathan Lukes, whose latest trip to the big league roster consisted of zero appearances.

Kevin Kiermaier activated from the injured list

The 34-year-old Kiermaier is in his second season with the Blue Jays after two consecutive one-year deals. Last year, he was one of the best defensive center fielders in the game and had an above-average bat for the first time in years.

This year has been a very different story. While KK remains an elite defender in center, his bat has completely disappeared. In 22 games so far, the 12-year veteran has a .193 batting average, .474 OPS and 40 OPS+. The OPS+ is noteworthy, as it suggests he's been a whopping 60 percent below league-average at the dish this year.

Kiermaier's inclusion on this roster was never about his offensive prowess, but last year's output was certainly an added bonus. He may have raised fans' expectations too high, as now it's almost expected of him to be an offensive producer as well as a defensive one.

For Lukes, 29, he'll once again head back down to the minor leagues. His stay in the bigs was never meant to be a long one, as the plan all along was to send him down once Kiermaier returned.

Lukes has 20 games under his belt for the Buffalo Bisons this year, hitting three home runs and driving in 13 with a smooth .284 batting average and .780 OPS. We have not seen the last of him at the big league level.