Jose Fernandez, we hardly knew ye. Via MLBTR, the Detroit Tigers announced they claimed the left-handed pitcher off waivers from the Blue Jays today. He posted a 6.10 ERA over 10.1 innings, with 4 strikeouts and 6 strikeouts in 13 appearances after being called up September 1st.
This is not surprising in that I has listed Fernandez as on the 40-man “bubble” last month in my 2019 look ahead, and the Jays had to do at some near-term maneuvering with just two open spots and three players to activate from the 60-day disabled list within the next 24 hours. This opens up the needed third spot, so conceivably this could be the extent the machinations, but it wouldn’t be surprising if a few other bubble candidates were on waivers.
Fernandez was signed as an international free agent just prior to turning 19 in January 2012, and was in line for minor league free agency had he not been promoted to the 40-man. Had he cleared waivers, the Jays could have retained him for another year (assuming that wouldn’t have happened for another day or two, after the date of minor league free agency), but as it is they got to take a look at him at the big league level and there’s nothing lost compared to just letting become a free agent.
Fernandez has climbed the ladder in the Blue Jays system rung by rung as a reliever, re-assigned to New Hampshire in 2017 but earning a mid-season to promotion to Buffalo where he was really good, turning in a 2.45 ERA in 29.1 innings with an excellent 8/32 BB/K ratio.
He’s always been somewhat interesting as lefty with a fastball into the mid-90s, but without a true offspeed weapon and some significant control problems. Too often, he just had no idea where the ball was going. He was better in the second half this year, apparently enough to interest Detroit (all their full season affiliates overlap with the Jays, so they’d have some organizational familiarity). Or maybe just enough to claim him and then try to run him through waivers themselves and obtain his rights for 2019, we’ll see.