Blue Jays: Julian Merryweather designated for assignment

Tampa Bay Rays at Toronto Blue Jays - Game One
Tampa Bay Rays at Toronto Blue Jays - Game One / Vaughn Ridley/GettyImages

With the recent news of the Blue Jays signing Brandon Belt to a one-year the organization needed to make room on the 40-man roster and the casualty to that corresponding move was Julian Merryweather.

The team announced via Twitter on Tuesday afternoon that the 31-year-old right handed pitcher was being designated for assignment (DFA).  This likely marks the end to Merryweather’s tenure in Toronto as a team would be smart to take a flyer on the hard throwing relief pitcher.

This move also closes the door on one of the few trades I have been disappointed about from Ross Atkins.  Merryweather was the player to be named later in the 2018 traded that sent Josh Donaldson, along with cash to the Cleveland Indians.  Atkins held onto Donaldson a little too long and moved him at his lowest value as he spent the majority of the season on the injured list.   Donaldson was in the midst of his worst major league season with a slash line of .234/.333/.423 with just five home runs and 16 RBI in only 36 games.

When Merryweather was acquired he was a 26-year old pitching prospect that was rehabbing from Tommy John surgery he had earlier in the season.  While there was not a lot of hype surrounding him at the time of the trade, fans would quickly get excited by him when he made his major league debut in August of 2020.  Merryweather came into the game in the fifth inning against the Philadelphia Phillies throwing high-90s, striking out the first two batters he faced.  After allowing a single to Andrew McCutchen, Merryweather would strike out another batter and then show his defensive by cleanly fielding an attempted bunt single by Bryce Harper

Through his first four appearances, Merryweather would register 7.1 innings pitched and struck out 12, leaving many to believe he could be the future setup man in the bullpen.

The unfortunate thing for Merryweather is that he is unable to stay healthy.  Since being brought into the Blue Jays organization, he has spent five different stints on the injured list, two of those occurrences have led to the 60-day injured list.  Since 2019, he has pitched in just 80 innings in all levels of the organization.

Merryweather has a ton of potential and if healthy could be valuable piece of a bullpen, the problem is he needs to avoid the injured list.

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