Whose roster spot does Adam Cimber take when he returns from the injured list?
By Edward Eng
On Thursday, Blue Jays media had provided an update on the status of injured Blue Jays’ reliever Adam Cimber, indicating that he had rejoined the ballclub in Toronto. In doing so, he could potentially be activated as early as today, just prior to tonight’s game against the Baltimore Orioles.
Cimber had been out since near the end of April due to a right rhomboid strain, with Nate Pearson being called up to take his spot on the Jays’ roster at the time. After being acquired in a trade from the Miami Marlins in 2021, he had been a key bullpen cog for the Jays, going 12-8, with a 2.59 ERA, ERA+ of 157, 1.076 WHIP, with 94 strikeouts in 118 innings pitched. He has gotten off to a slower start in 2023, but he hopes to bounce back after his stint on the 15-day IL and provide the team with the stability and effectiveness that he usually brought when taking the mound.
So when Cimber is activated, who comes out from the Jays’ current bullpen? No doubt Jordan Romano, Erik Swanson, Tim Mayza, and Yimi García are probably not going anywhere. Also, Nate Pearson has been strong since his promotion to the Majors. That leaves one of Trevor Richards, Anthony Bass, and Thomas Hatch as the potential candidates.
Richards has been having an up and down season so far for the Jays, with games of brilliance mixed in with games of disaster. Nevertheless, he appears to have quite the long leash, since he hasn’t been designated for assignment despite major hiccups all of last season and in this season as well. In addition, he is one of the rare Jays out of the pen that could provide consistent strikeouts, striking out 26 in just 16 innings pitched.
Next up would be Anthony Bass. He ran into some media trouble in addition to his pitching struggles near the beginning of the season, but has been better in the past four outings, with a 2.45 ERA and 0.625 WHIP, to go along with giving up only one run and one walk with five strikeouts in 3.2 innings. Hopefully, he has put all his distractions behind him and remains focused on what he needs to do, which is pitch effectively.
Finally, there’s recent callup Thomas Hatch, who had replaced Jay Jackson as a potential long man in the Jays’ bullpen. Hatch has had multiple stints with the big league club in each of the past three seasons, both as a spot starter and reliever. He started off quite promising in 2020, when he went 3-1 with a 2.73 ERA, 1.177 WHIP, and an ERA+ of 162, with 23 strikeouts in just 26.1 innings pitched. However, his performances in both 2021 and 2022 had been quite underwhelming, with most people agreeing on the fact that he probably shouldn’t be given a permanent roster spot as a result.
So the Jays need to make the decision, do they give Hatch one more chance to prove what he can provide for the team? If so, would they risk DFA one of Richards or Bass just to “hope” Hatch actually proves his worth? Due to the fact that Hatch has one minor league option remaining, look for the Jays to make the most likely, and sensible, decision in sending him back to the minors in favour of Cimber when he comes off the IL.