The 2022 season was not overly kind to Blue Jays southpaw Anthony Kay.
The former Mets prospect did not make the Opening Day roster and he only appeared in one game at the big league level, a relief appearance early in the season against the New York Yankees where he walked one, hit one batter, and allowed an earned run through two innings while striking out three.
Following that outing, Kay would be sent back down to the minors and would make just 13 appearances on the season due to various injuries. In AAA, Kay appeared in eight games (one start) and struggled through the limited sample size, allowing 18 hits and 13 earned runs through 14.0 innings while also surrendering four home runs and 11 walks compared to 15 strikeouts. Opponents held a .316 batting average against the left-hander, while Kay also had a few outings in the lower levels of the Jays system on rehab assignments.
Looking at Anthony Kay and his role in 2023
Since being acquired at the trade deadline back in 2019, Kay has been used in various different roles with the Jays, moving from the rotation to the bullpen then back to the rotation and then back to the bullpen. In the Majors, Kay owns a lifetime 5.48 ERA through 70.2 innings but has also amassed a 9.8 K/9 during that time, with swing and miss in his arsenal.
Looking ahead to 2023, the New York product is in a bit of a peculiar scenario. His best chance of making the Majors next year in my opinion is likely out of the bullpen, as the Jays do not possess the most depth in left-handed relief options. I do also believe that he sits behind Matt Gage on the depth charts for southpaw relief options though, so it won't be an easy climb back to the Blue Jays' active roster.
Kay could also be a candidate to continue starting in AAA, as the Jays currently do not possess a lot of depth in rotation arms on the Bison's roster but injuries over the past two campaigns have limited him to just 21 appearances, so it could make sense to move him to be a middle relief option instead.
Looking at the Jays roster picture, there also is a scenario where Kay could be DFA'd, especially considering the club sits at 39 players on the 40-man roster and could require additional spots later this offseason. With other candidates already moved off the roster like Foster Griffin and Bradley Zimmer, Kay's name has shuffled closer to the top of the list and if Ross Atkins and co. have a busy offseason, I wouldn't be surprised if his roster spot is up for grabs.
I do believe that Kay could be a legitimate bullpen option for the Jays sometime next season, especially with his arsenal, ability to start and give the Jays some length, and ability to strike out batters, so I hope he does stay on the roster. If he can stay healthy in AAA and give the Bisons some quality outings, Kay could factor into the Jays' plans should injuries arise next season, especially since he has one minor league option left.