Ten names. I can’t be arsed to actually look it up, but I’m pretty sure it’s been a long, long time since the Toronto Blue Jays so forcefully took advantage of MLB’s rules allowing for the expansion of rosters on September first. And there are still more players that could theoretically been brought to the majors by the club, who might have had some utility as they hope to make a titanic last-ditch push to get back in the playoff race. Kyle Drabek. Steve Delabar, and Rob Rasmussen won’t be returning to the Jays — barring a change of heart from management, or perhaps an injury situation that forces them into action — nor will A.J. Jimenez, or — as was discussed in a post yesterday — Brett Lawrie.
And yet still the Jays have added a number of intriguing weapons that fans will be looking to get a taste of down the stretch.
Some of the moves are pretty basic: George Kottaras was added as the club’s third catcher, while Dan Johnson returns from injury to add another left-handed bat off the bench, while John Mayberry Jr. does the same from the right side. Sean Nolin, who has been on the 40-man roster since his call-up last year, understandably has finally rejoined the club. Brandon Morrow has been activated, likely to complete his Blue Jays swan song — that’s because, with a $10-million club option for next year that’s undoubtedly going to be declined, he’ll hit the free agent market over the winter, possibly looking exclusively for an opportunity to compete for a rotation spot that simply isn’t going to be available here — and, as expected, Ryan Goins and Anthony Gose have also returned to the club.
You could nitpick the decisions on some of the relievers, I suppose. Delabar, for example, is a power arm who may still have a future with the Jays and has put up some gaudy strikeout numbers with Buffalo. But he has also walked at least one batter in eight of his last eleven appearances, and at least one hit in five of his last six appearances, none of which lasted more than an inning.
The bigger story though, obviously, is the other names — Daniel Norris, Dalton Pompey, and Kendall Graveman — though it’s maybe not quite as big as the knee-jerk cynic would like you to believe.
Hearing the Sportsnet broadcast talk glowingly about the future we’ll be seeing on display this next month certainly raises the ol’ hackles, making it rather easy to feel that the rush to get this trio to the big leagues — and, more crucially, in terms of asset management, onto the 40-man roster — has as much to do with optics as baseball, and with selling hope at the end of a dismal August that has likely been a season-killer.
Not only that, but it might even seem more egregious — perhaps even like a flagrant misuse of some of the club’s key assets, forcing them to burn options too soon, to accrue service time too soon, and potentially creating related issues farther down the line. And I don’t think any of us needs to be reminded what a handcuff it can be to have a roster full of too many out-of-options players.
Yet I don’t think it’s really as big a deal as the negative-minded might want to make it out to be.