The Blue Jays have made a couple of moves over the past couple of days and there’s still one transaction yet to come.
During yesterday’s game, it was announced that the Blue Jays had claimed outfielder Kenny Wilson off of waivers from the Minnesota Twins. Yes, that Kenny Wilson, who had been put on the Blue Jays’ 40-man roster this offseason (to protect him from the Rule 5 draft) and who had been put on waivers in order for the Blue Jays to claim outfielder Darin Mastroianni from the Twins. The Twins then picked up Wilson and kept him for a couple of weeks (where he didn’t do very well) and then designated him for assignment again. The Blue Jays, with a 40-man roster spot available after the DFA of Chris Getz swooped in and brought Wilson back and he’ll be headed back to the New Hampshire Fisher Cats to try to turn his season around.
The timeline looks like this:
November 20, 2013 – Wilson is added to the Jay’s 40-man roster
April 22, 2014 – Wilson is DFA’ed by the Blue Jays and Mastroianni is claimed
April 24, 2014 – Wilson is claimed by the Twins
May 9, 2014 – Wilson is DFA’ed by the Twins
May 11, 2014 – Wilson is claimed by the Blue Jays
Wilson hit .210/.239/.306 with the Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats (68 plate appearances) and just .195/.327/.268 with the Double-A New Britain Rock Cats (50 plate appearances).
The Blue Jays have also announced that RHP Sergio Santos has been placed on the 15-day DL with a right elbow strain but they have not called anyone up to take his place.
The @BlueJays place SERGIO SANTOS on the 15-day DL with a right elbow strain. A corresponding move will be announced later today.
— Blue Jays-Official (@BlueJays) May 12, 2014
Speculation is that the Jays will call up an outfielder because, as things stand now, Steven Tolleson is the “extra” outfielder but that’s assuming that he’s not playing second base. The Jays’ bench is severely short-handed with two extra catchers (Kratz and Thole) to go along with Tolleson (who’s on the bench when Brett Lawrie is healthy). The two obvious choices would be either Anthony Gose, who’s starting to heat up in Buffalo, and Kevin Pillar who’s been one of the hottest hitters in the International League over the past couple of weeks (and that includes Pirates’ stud prospect Gregory Polanco).
Santos has now been put on the DL every single year in which he has pitched for the Blue Jays and an elbow strain is definitely not something to take lightly. Santos, having been drafted by the Blue Jays as a shortstop, has a “young arm,” meaning that he hasn’t thrown as much as someone his age who has been a pitcher the while time he has been playing. Is this time catching up to him? Can we attribute some of his struggles this year to this injury that he may have hidden, lest he be thought of as “fragile”? It’s hard to tell without being in the clubhouse.
The one thing that is interesting is how this injury (combined with the rest of his injury history) will affect the Jays’ decision-making about his contract option years going forward. For 2015, 2016 and 2017, Santos has three options at $6 MM, $8 MM and $8.75 MM (respectively) with a $750,000 buyout for each year. For a reliever who is spending most of his time on the DL, those figures are far too high (Casey Janssen is only making $4 MM this year) and if Santos spends significant time (i.e., half the season) on the DL this year, I could easily see the Jays buying out the contract and, perhaps, renegotiating something at a lower base salary. Santos’s upside is still huge but, like Brandon Morrow, his injury history over the past three years could indicate that he may never reach that potential.
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