Before kicking off their series against the Boston Red Sox, the Toronto Blue Jays took to social media to announce a pair of questionable roster moves. Going down to Triple-A to join the Buffalo Bisons is relief pitcher Bowden Francis, who has shown extended stretches of dominance this season. Taking his place on the active roster is fellow relief pitcher Nate Pearson.
On the surface, it's fairly easy to see that Francis, who has pitched in three of the last four games for the Blue Jays, is going down to Buffalo to get a bit of a rest. It's also worth noting that Jay Jackson has not yet met the minimum requirements for amount of time (10 days) you have to wait once you're demoted to return to the big leagues. However, Pearson being the one to get the call is a bit of a head-scratcher, regardless of the fact that he currently sports a 1.74 ERA in 20+ Triple-A innings this season.
Pearson, the club's former top prospect, has been yet another pitcher who's been shuffled back and forth between the major and minor leagues this season. Unlike Francis and Jackson, who have also had a lot of back and forth travels, Pearson has yet to experience any sort of sustained success in the majors this season. In 33 outings, he has a 5.18 ERA thanks to subpar months of June and July. He had a 1.80 ERA in 11 outings in May, but his numbers quickly came crashing back down to Earth. In the minors, his 1.74 ERA is impressive, but he's been walking entirely too many batters (which is usually to be expected with pitchers who throw as hard as he does). His SO/9 is up to 14.8, though, so perhaps there's hope for him to be a legitimate contributor to the Blue Jays' bullpen down the stretch.
In Francis, the Blue Jays are sending down one of their best relievers this year. The 27-year-old has officially hit his yearly limit of five options, so the Jays can call him back up one more time but will be unable to demote him any additional times without first exposing him to waivers.
In 20 appearances, the right-hander has a sparkling 1.73 ERA and 248 ERA+ thanks to 35 strikeouts and just eight walks in 36+ innings of work. He has consistently been a multi-inning threat for the Blue Jays and could conceivably compete for a spot in next year's starting rotation if he keeps this level of production up. Even if we don't see him again this season, this is most definitely not the last we've seen of him in a Jays uniform.