Injuries & Moves: Tapia, Zimmer, Capra non-tendered

November 19th, 2022

Check back for Blue Jays transactions and injury updates throughout the offseason.

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Nov. 18: OF , OF and INF non-tendered
Tapia and Zimmer had already been designated for assignment earlier this week, when the Blue Jays protected four prospects from the Rule 5 Draft. They’re now joined by Capra, who would be a nice depth piece to keep in the organization.

All other arbitration-eligible players were tendered contracts by the Blue Jays. Those players, including their projected 2023 salary by Cot’s Baseball Contracts, are: ($14.5 million), ($5.75 million), ($4 million), ($3.5 million), ($3 million), ($2.85 million), ($2.4 million), ($2.35 million), ($2.3 million), ($1.6 million) and ($1.05 million).

This brings the Blue Jays’ 40-man roster to 30 players.

Nov. 16: OF Teoscar Hernández traded to Mariners for RHP Erik Swanson, LHP Adam Macko
Toronto's first major move of the offseason sent Hernández, a six-year veteran of the franchise and a fan favorite, to Seattle for bullpen help in Swanson. The right-hander posted a 1.68 ERA last season, striking out 70 batters with just 10 walks over 53 2/3 innings. He'll slide in as a key back-end reliever alongside Jordan Romano, and with three years of team control, he represents a longer-term solution to raising that group's ceiling. Macko enters the Blue Jays' Top 30 list as their No. 8 prospect, per MLB Pipeline, with exciting upside.

Losing Hernández is no small thing, though, and while he was projected to earn $14 million in arbitration, he's a two-time AL Silver Slugger Award winner who was capable of anchoring this lineup when he was at his best. The Blue Jays will now shift their focus to adding another outfielder, ideally a left-handed hitter who better balances this batting order.

Nov. 15: OF Raimel Tapia, OF Bradley Zimmer and LHP Foster Griffin designated for assignment
These moves were made to clear room for the four prospects the Blue Jays added to their roster on Tuesday, protecting them from the Rule 5 Draft. Zimmer and Griffin were expected, with Griffin planning to sign in a foreign professional league, but the Tapia move is more noteworthy after the athletic outfielder appeared in 128 games last season. 

Tapia was projected to earn over $5 million in arbitration this offseason, with the tender deadline looming on Friday, so this was an opportunity for the Blue Jays to get a jump on that move. That money can now be used to help reshape the club’s outfield depth or address the multiple pitching needs in the rotation or bullpen.

Nov. 15: 3B/SS Orelvis Martinez, RHP Yosver Zulueta, 1B/OF Spencer Horwitz, INF Addison Barger selected to 40-man roster
These prospects were added to the 40-man roster ahead of the 6 p.m. ET deadline to protect them from the Rule 5 Draft. 

Martinez, the club’s No. 2 prospect, is the headlining name and is coming off a 30-homer season in Double-A against more advanced pitching, but he may still be a season away from his MLB debut. Zulueta should compete immediately for a spot in the bullpen, though, as a hard-throwing right-hander capable of throwing multiple innings.

Nov. 10: OF selected to 40-man roster
Lukes impressed in Spring Training last season and carried that right into Triple-A, where he hit .285 with a .789 OPS. This is an interesting move for the Blue Jays, keeping Lukes from becoming a Minor League free agent, especially with a tender decision coming on Raimel Tapia. If Lukes sticks on the 40-man roster into Spring Training -- and a lot can happen between now and then -- he’d compete for a depth role with his lefty bat an attractive trait.

Nov. 10: LHP (Tommy John surgery) reinstated from 60-day IL
This is strictly procedural, and Ryu will still open the 2023 season on the 60-day IL as he recovers from Tommy John surgery. We should receive our next major update on his recovery process when Spring Training opens in February.

Nov. 10: Club exercises $3 million club option on RHP Anthony Bass
Bass was a valuable piece of the Blue Jays’ bullpen after coming over from the Marlins in a Trade Deadline deal, posting a 1.75 ERA down the stretch. This was an easy call for the front office, and with most of the key bullpen depth pieces returning for 2023, the Blue Jays can focus on raising the ceiling of this group with a swing-and-miss arm on the back end.

Nov. 9: LHP Tayler Saucedo claimed off waivers by the Mets
Saucedo made just four appearances for the Blue Jays at the Major League level in 2022, dealing with a pair of injuries that led to a long rehab assignment through the latter half of the season. He pitched to a 4.56 ERA in ’21 over 29 appearances. This move clears a 40-man roster spot ahead of free agency and the Nov. 15 deadline to protect players from the Rule 5 Draft. The Blue Jays could need to protect four to six players.

Nov. 9: RHP Casey Lawrence clears outright waivers, assigned to Triple-A
The veteran right-hander made six appearances for the Blue Jays in ’22, often acting as an insurance arm if the club needed to eat innings. This clears another 40-man roster spot, but Lawrence is a nice piece of organizational depth for the Blue Jays to have down with the Buffalo Bisons, for whom he posted a 2.79 ERA over 126 innings last season.

Nov. 6: RHP Ross Stripling, RHP David Phelps, OF Jackie Bradley Jr. become free agents
It’s a small free agent class for the Blue Jays, who could return nearly their entire roster in 2023. Bradley joined the Blue Jays late in the season as a reserve outfielder and Phelps was a steady underrated member of the bullpen. But Stripling is the big name of this group hitting the open market.

The right-hander stepped into a full-time rotation role this season and ran with it, posting a 3.01 ERA over a career-high 134 1/3 innings. Long viewed as a swingman, a role he embraced as it became more valuable, the ’22 season established Stripling as a legitimate starter and he is expected to land a multiyear deal in free agency. The Blue Jays need starters and will stay involved on Stripling, but it seems likelier that they head in a different direction.

Oct. 27: OF George Springer undergoes right elbow surgery to remove bone spur
The elbow had bothered Springer through much of the 2022 season, particularly when he was throwing. This led to an increase in DH days for Springer, who also dealt with a variety of other injuries through the season. Springer also left the final game of the season, Game 2 of the Wild Card Series, on a medical cart after suffering a concussion, so few players on this roster need a full offseason more than him.

The Blue Jays fully expect Springer to be ready for the start of Spring Training in February, and his health will be a top priority in '23. Springer's all-out playing style tends to rack up the bumps and bruises, but it's also part of what makes him great. You can expect another update on Springer's overall health in the new year as we approach camp opening in Dunedin, Fla.

OF Lourdes Gurriel Jr. undergoes wrist surgery
Gurriel, who wasn't active for the Blue Jays' Wild Card Series due to a hamstring injury, underwent a successful procedure on Oct. 20 to address a left wrist issue he dealt with through the 2022 season. The outfielder is expected to be ready for next year's Spring Training, according to the Blue Jays. The decision to undergo a procedure in his wrist stemmed from additional medical follow-ups after Toronto was eliminated from the postseason. Gurriel was placed on the IL on Sept. 9 with a hamstring issue and didn't play again in 2022.

INJURY UPDATES