After a rough Blue Jays debut in Friday night's game against the Red Sox, Jeremy Jeffress finds himself off the 40-man roster after being designated for assignment Saturday morning. Jeffress pitched a rough ninth, giving up a lead off homer to Will Middlebrooks then walking two Red Sox. His inning was extended by an Emilio Bonifacio throwing error at second base which ruined a potential inning-ending double play. He did strike out Shane Victorino on an 82 mph curveball after starting him with a 96 mph heater.
Jeffress is out of options and the Blue Jays now have 10 days to either trade him, release him, or try to sneak him through outright waivers.
To replace him on the roster, the club has selected the contract of Buffalo Bisons right handed pitcher Dave Bush. Blue Jays fans would remember the 33-year old Bush from his time as a starter in Toronto in 2004 and 2005. He had two good seasons with the Jays before he was traded to the Brewers in the Lyle Overbay trade. His first year with Milwaukee was his career best, and he had two more decent seasons before he started struggling. He last played for the Texas Rangers in 2011, only appearing in 17 games (3 starts), with a 5.79 ERA. In 2012, he pitched 62 innings in 11 starts for the Phillies' AAA affiliate. He will likely work exclusively as a reliever this season.
Bush is approaching seven years of major league service, so he is not eligible to be optioned to the minor leagues without his consent even though he has two remaining options.
After the shaky outing and the exposure of a short bench last night, I was not surprised that Jeffress would be sent out, but I had expected that the club would have called up a bat instead of another out-of-options reliever. The Blue Jays are still carrying eight relief pitchers in their bullpen, and they seem to believe that is more valuable than bench depth. I don't mind the quick trigger on Jeffress too much--it is not a terrible gamble to try to sneak someone like him through waivers at this point in time--but the obsession with an eight-man bullpen when Jose Bautista is not available is puzzling.
Jeffress joins the legion of short-term Blue Jays relievers under Alex Anthopoulos' tenure, which includes the likes of Bobby Korecky, P.J. Walters, Brian Tallet, Ryota Igarashi, Sam Dyson, Merkin Valdez, Taylor Buchholz, David Carpenter, and Danny Farquhar, all of whom had fewer than three appearances for the club before they were shipped out.
Blue Jays season ticket holder Liz (@biggles14) reports spotting Dave Bush in Toronto wearing #54. Bush wore that number in spring training, but had #49 on his back in his first tour with the Blue Jays. The last Blue Jay to wear #54 was Jason Frasor.