We knew some transactions and housekeeping were imminent, and last night they finally came as the offseason begins in earnest today. Darrell Ceciliani, Bo Schultz and Cesar Valdez were removed from the 40-man roster, having cleared waivers and being sent outright to Buffalo (for the time being).
With the World Series ending last night, two things happen today that necessitated these moves. First, as of 9:00 Eastern, players with six years of MLB service and without a 2018 contract are formally free agents. For the Blue Jays, that’s Brett Anderson, Darwin Barney, Miguel Montero and Michael Saunders immediately, with Jose Bautista soon to join in the coming days when his option is formally declined.
Second, players on the 60-day DL must be activated as the 40-man roster limit becomes a hard limit for the remainder of the offseason until Spring Training opens in February. With seven players to activate - the aforementioned three, Dalton Pompey, Aaron Sanchez, Devon Travis and Troy Tulowitzki - and only four spots coming open, another three spots were needed.
All three outrighted players were out-of-options for 2018 and lacked foreseeable roles, likely buried on the depth charts below existing options on the depth charts. Accordingly, when categorizing the roster a few weeks ago, I had placed them among five players in the vulnerable “bubble - no options” category. That leaves just Leonel Campos and Rob Refsnyder in that category.
Schultz, 32, was the longest tenured of the three, having been claimed off waivers from Arizona three years ago. He had Tommy John surgery at the end of Sprng Training and missed the entire season, though should be back at some point in 2018. He bounced back and forth between Toronto and Buffalo in 2015-16, totaling 59.1 innings with a 4.10 ERA as a result of some of the best pure fastball velocity, though spotty command that resulted in 10 home runs (including a shot to the 500-level on July 25, 2016). I’d be interested in bringing him back on a minor league deal.
Ceciliani, 27, was acquired in a minor deal with the Mets in early 2016 after they DFA’d him. He made 34 plate appearances for the Jays, putting up a .156/.206/.344 line with one home run, in the course of which he separated his shoulder and ultimately ended his 2017 campaign.
Valdez, 32, was claimed off waivers in May from Oakland. He posted a solid 3.23 ERA for Buffalo across 10 starts, but that didn’t translate to MLB level were he posted a 6.75 ERA in 21.1 innings. A pretty typical split for a AAAA player.
This was the first outright assignment for all three so none can immediately elect minor league free agency, but they will be free agents in five days by virtue of having been professionals for more than six seasons and having their contract renewals exhausted.
Update 11/2: Valdez had a prior outright in 2010 that I missed, so he was eligible to immediately become a free agent and did so.