Well, the Blue Jays have finally made a puzzling waiver claim, selecting RHP Liam Hendriks off waivers from the Baltimore Orioles and designating 3B Brent Morel for assignment to make room.
Why is this move puzzling? Primarily because it gives the Blue Jays yet another starting pitcher (albeit one with minor league options remaining) when they’re designating for assignment an infielder who the Blue Jays have talked about moving to second base. While Morel, just claimed this offseason from the Chicago White Sox, hasn’t been a big-time offensive producer in his big league career, he does offer more upside than Ryan Goins.
Who is Liam Hendriks? A 25-year-old right-handed pitcher who is pretty average overall. Throwing a fastball that averages just over 90 mph, Hendriks also has a slider, curveball and changeup, he has been mostly a ground-ball pitcher but hasn’t been particularly successful in his big league career with a 6.06 career ERA although that number is below his 5.31 FIP and 4.59 xFIP.
Hendricks has been passed around this winter in the grand old game of Waiver Wire Musical Chairs, having been picked up by the Cubs, the Orioles and now the Blue Jays. Again, I’m not sure about the logic behind this move by the Blue Jays. While he’s a starting pitcher with big league experience, he doesn’t have any proven success at the top level of the game. He adds to the depth that the Blue Jays will have in Buffalo but it’s a crowded pitching staff to begin with and gets even more so now. It appears that the Blue Jays are no longer committed to having Brent Morel around, satisfied that Ryan Goins and/or Maicer Izturis is/are their man/men (damn, that got awkward quickly).
With Morel the odd man out, you can bet that there will be follow up moves to this one and we probably won’t have to wait too long to see what they will be.