The Toronto Blue Jays have to make a roster decision and Julian Merryweather might not be long for this team
It has been reported that the Jays have signed pitcher Rafael Dolis to a one year deal plus a club option for 2021. Assuming that this becomes official at some point, they will need to make room for him on the 40 man roster.
There are a few position players who could be DFA candidates. However, as Jays From the Couch writer AJ Andrews points out, the 40 man roster is very “pitching heavy”. There are currently 23 pitchers and 17 position players on the 40 man roster. So for now, I will assume that the Jays will be looking to DFA a pitcher.
It’s understandable why many Jays fans were critical of that trade. The very popular Donaldson was AL MVP in 2015.
Rumour had it that the Jays rejected a trade in the offseason after 2017 that would have sent Donaldson to the Cardinals in exchange for pitching prospect Jack Flaherty. In hindsight today’s Jays would have been much further along if they had made this trade. They also would have gotten huge backlash from Toronto’s fan base.
The fact that Donaldson played in only 36 games for Toronto in 2018 due to injuries drastically reduced his trade value. Since he was eligible for free agency after the 2018 season and if a contract extension wasn’t going to happen, the Jays had no choice but to get whatever they could for him at 2018’s final trade deadline.
Merryweather underwent Tommy John surgery on March 9, 2018. Missing all of the 2018 season as a result was a given. His performance once he returned to pitching in 2019 is a concern.
He pitched in a total of 12 innings over 6 games in rookie ball, high A ball and the Arizona Fall league. The fact that the results weren’t great (9.00 era in MiLB, 4.50 era in the AFL) is far less concerning than his inability to build up his innings.
Not all athletes are able to recover from Tommy John surgery well enough to make a successful return to pro sports. Merryweather may be one of the unlucky ones in that regard.
Merryweather is 28 years old. He has yet to play in MLB. The clock is ticking for him to be able to successfully make the jump to the majors.
If the Jays front office keeps Merryweather on the 40 man roster, their reasons may be less about their belief in his future and more about not wanting to admit they got no benefit from the Donaldson trade. Part of the Jays fan base has never warmed up to Shapiro and Atkins. If they DFA Merryweather that could look very bad in the eyes of some people.
The hope, of course is that someday Merryweather will not only pitch for the Toronto Blue Jays, he will do so well enough to help them win. If that happens, great. If it never does, at some point they will need to remove him from the 40 man roster.
The front office needs to evaluate the likelihood of each player on the 40 man roster being able to help the team win in the future, and make the right decision for the club.
DFAing Merryweather might not be the move that they make. But it might be the move they SHOULD make.
*Featured Image Courtesy Of DaveMe Images. Prints Available For Purchase.
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