Blue Jays make a pair of surprising roster moves prior to Game 162

The Blue Jays have selected the contract of Triple-A pitcher Wes Parsons to their MLB roster to start the final game of the regular season against Tampa Bay. To make room for him on their 40-man roster, they’ve DFA’d fan favourite Jay Jackson.
Sep 29, 2023; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays relief pitcher Jay Jackson (35) celebrates
Sep 29, 2023; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Toronto Blue Jays relief pitcher Jay Jackson (35) celebrates / Nick Turchiaro-USA TODAY Sports

While Toronto fans are relieved ace Kevin Gausman will not be needed Sunday after the Blue Jays clinched a postseason ticket with the Seattle Mariners losing Saturday, they also might be sad to know that fan favourite Jay Jackson was a casualty of a late season roster move ahead of today’s game.

31-year old journeyman starter Wes Parsons was selected to the Blue Jays 28-man roster to make the start Sunday in the final game of the 2023 regular season. To make room for him on the 40-man roster, popular reliever Jay Jackson was designated for assignment.

Parsons played parts of two seasons for the Braves and Rockies in 2018-19, posting a 5.67 ERA in 33 games covering 39.2 innings. Control issues led to him issuing 32 walks, which led to a two-year stint in the Korean Baseball Organization (KBO) for the NC Dinos in 2021-22. While overseas, he pitched to a 3.68 ERA 176.0 innings, making 32 starts with 84 walks versus 191 strikeouts.

For the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons this season, Parsons pitched to a 9-4 record in 17 starts, with a 4.52 ERA over 81.2 innings, walking 45 against 98 strikeouts.

Given this is now a meaningless game, with the Jays already advancing to the playoffs, it may sadden Blue Jays fans to see 35-year old, hard luck reliever Jay Jackson being DFA’d. Unfortunately for Jackson, players can only be optioned five times per season; after that, it requires outright assignment waivers to assign the player to the Minor Leagues. He was already optioned to Buffalo five times this year.

Jays Journal editor Eric Treuden interviewed Jackson back in April, and many fans have been following the inspirational story of Jackson’s son JR, who was born prematurely in early July.

To call this a disappointment is an understatement. After pitching for five big-league teams, spending four seasons in Japan and five pitching in Mexico, Jackson has been a stalwart in the Blue Jays bullpen this year, despite riding that shuttle back-and-forth to Buffalo. He was 3-1 with a 2.12 ERA in 25 appearances for Toronto this year over 29.2 innings, with 27 K’s and a 0.91 WHIP.

As Toronto Star reported Mike Wilner notes, “Jackson deserves much, much better than the roller coaster Jays have had him on this season. There were other options to DFA without the playoff roster potential he has, too.” Jays fans likely all agree, and we all wish Jackson the very best. This isn’t right.