Friday afternoon, the Toronto Blue Jays announced that former top prospect Anthony Kay would be designated for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster for Chris Bassit who was signed to a three-year, $63M deal.
Going into the 2019 season it was evident that Marcus Stroman was not part of Ross Atkins and Mark Shapiro's plan; and it was only a matter of time before they were going to be trading the star pitcher. That trade deadline, Atkins traded Stroman to the New York Mets for Simeon Woods Richardson and former 2016 first-round pick Anthony Kay.
When the Blue Jays acquired Kay, he was the eighth ranked prospect in the Mets organization and the third best pitching prospect. With the Mets contending, it appeared that Kay was still at least a year, if not longer, away getting a shot at a big league debut in New York. However, five weeks after the trade he was making his first big league appearance in Toronto as a September call-up. Kay was impressive in his debut as he pitched into the sixth inning, surrendering just two runs and striking out eight, recording a no decision. 12 days later he would record his first career win as he came in relief to pitch four innings.
During the COVID-shortened 2020 season, Kay was with the club from the start of the season and impressed over his first 11 appearances, tossing 18.1 innings in relief and holding hitters to a .215 batting average while posting a 2.45 ERA. Unfortunately, his last two appearances he surrendered seven earned runs in just 2.2 innings that bloated his season ERA to 5.14.
2021 was a roller coast of a season where he was up and down with the club three times throughout the season. During the early part of the season, Kay had trouble with consistency, but during his third stint with the club he had a stretch of five appearances where he pitched 14.2 innings, surrendering just three runs and striking out 18. However, during the sixth appearance he allowed five runs in just 1.1 innings pitched and never got another opportunity with the club.
A month after being sent to the minors in 2021, Kay started to sustain injuries that would stall his career as he was placed on the injured list in both August and September. During his 2022 season, Kay continued to battle injuries and had three different stints on the injured list, making only 14 appearances over four levels of baseball, including just one relief appearances for the Blue Jays.
There is no guarantee that Kay will be gone from the organization, however with the depth created on the mound within the organization I don't see Kay getting another opportunity in Toronto. Another team would be smart to take a flyer on Kay as he still has a lot of upside and could still be a valuable pitcher.