Blue Jays release flame-throwing reliever after subpar results

The Junior Fernández tenure is over in Toronto, with the Blue Jays deciding to part company with the hard-throwing but erratic former Cardinal.
St. Louis Cardinals v Cincinnati Reds
St. Louis Cardinals v Cincinnati Reds / Lauren Leigh Bacho/GettyImages

According to MLB's transaction logs, relief pitcher Junior Fernández is no longer a member of the Toronto Blue Jays organization.

The Blue Jays claimed Fernández off waivers from the Yankees at the beginning of this year, but soon after he was designated for assignment. He subsequently went unclaimed on waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A Buffalo.

The 26-year-old was decent enough during spring training, allowing four hits and a couple of runs in six appearances (5.1 combined innings). However -- as expected -- he was assigned to the Bisons for the beginning of this season.

No call up to the Blue Jays

The hope was that Fernández would get called up to the Majors at some point during the 2023 campaign. However, the reality is the Blue Jays have one of the best and deepest bullpens in all of baseball.

In addition, the righty just didn't do enough to inspire any degree of confidence that he could help the Blue Jays. It doesn't matter if you have a fastball which can tease 100 miles per hour, if you have no control.

In 42 appearances (49.0 innings) for the Bisons, Fernández recorded a poor 5.69 ERA, 5.95 FIP and 1.714 WHIP. Notably, he had a 19.9 percent strikeout rate and a 11.3 percent walk rate.

Talent versus inconsistency

There is no denying the former Cardinals international free agent signing has talent, to go along with some ceiling. However, he continues to struggle with his location, which contributes significantly to how erratic he is.

It should be noted Fernández did record a 2.41 ERA in 16 combined appearances for St. Louis and Pittsburgh in the Majors during last year. However, even this was tainted by a 5.79 FIP and a 1.607 WHIP.

In total, the Domincan Republic native has 50 Major League appearances (54.0 innings) over four years, registering a 5.17 ERA, 5.57 FIP and 1.722 WHIP in the process. He also has a career 18.7 percent strikeout rate and 13.9 percent walk rate.

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Overall, the combination of his arm strength and age means there is still hope for Fernández. However, if he can't get a handle on his control issues, at some point the promise of his potential will become just another story of wasted talent.