Blue Jays make shocking move to cut longest-tenured player

Seattle Mariners v Toronto Blue Jays
Seattle Mariners v Toronto Blue Jays / Mark Blinch/GettyImages

After another tough outing last night against the Yankees, the Blue Jays have finally made the decision to cut bait on their longest-tenured player, Tim Mayza. Mayza, who debuted with the team in 2017 and had been a part of the organization since being drafted in 2013, had been one of the Jays' most reliable relievers for half a decade, but a disastrous start to this season essentially left the club with no choice.

From 2018 through 2023, the southpaw posted a 3.24 ERA over 242 innings and was coming off a 2023 season where his 1.52 ERA ranked sixth in MLB among relievers with at least 50 innings pitched. However, this season has been a completely different story, with it all coming to a head in the Blue Jays' most recent game against the Yankees. Mayza entered to start the ninth and allowed five runs without recording a single out, his second straight appearance where he failed to record an out. On the season, Mayza's 8.03 ERA is among the worst in the league and his -1.3 rWAR makes him the least valuable reliever in baseball to this point.

Despite his struggles, this likely wasn't an easy decision for the Blue Jays to make. Toronto's bullpen has been absolutely decimated by injuries and underperformance this season, so deciding to move on from a player who had given them so much in the past shows just how untenable the situation had become. No matter how poorly things ended though, Mayza will likely always be remembered fondly by Jays fans.

In the corresponding move, the Blue Jays recalled right-handed reliever José Cuas. The Dominican-born side-armer was claimed off waivers from the Cubs less than a week ago and has himself had a rough 2024. A 7.50 ERA in 12 innings in AAA, and an almost identical 7.43 through 13.1 in the Majors certainly doesn't look great on paper, but at this point, the team will take what they can get. Cuas actually put together a really strong second half in 2023, posting a 3.04 ERA in 23.2 innings after being acquired by the Cubs at the deadline, so there is at least some potential upside.

Both these moves are unlikely to change outlooks very much in the grand scheme of things, but cutting your longest-tenured player always comes as a surprise, no matter how poorly they've performed. All that can be done now is hope that Cuas can find success in Toronto and that Mayza can get back to form elsewhere.