Blue Jays designate RHP Julian Merryweather for assignment
10 months ago
The Toronto Blue Jays made a few moves earlier today, acquiring RHP Zach Thompson from the Pittsburgh Pirates in exchange for prospect outfielder Chavez Young while also making the Brandon Belt signing official, inking the veteran first baseman to a one-year deal.
With a full 40-man roster, the Blue Jays’ front office had to make some room for Belt and designated right-handed reliever Julian Merryweather for assignment.
Merryweather was acquired back in 2018 as the “player to be named later” of the Josh Donaldson trade that saw the third baseman head to Cleveland. At the time of the deal, Merryweather was rehabbing from Tommy John surgery and wouldn’t make his debut with the Blue Jays organization until mid-June of 2019, making two starts before finishing the year on the IL once again.
The Toronto Blue Jays have designated reliever Julian Merryweather for assignment
In 2020, Merryweather had converted to a bullpen arm and made his MLB debut for the Jays, appearing in 1.1 innings on August 20th against the Philadelphia Phillies. He would finish the season with a 4.15 ERA through 13.0 innings, racking up 15 strikeouts in the process with an IL stint mixed in between.
The California product followed that introduction with a stellar opening to the 2021 campaign, striking out seven batters through four relief appearances while amassing two saves in the process, both of which came against the New York Yankees. This hot start had Jays fans thinking of big things for the 6’4″ Merryweather but an oblique strain halted any momentum he had, with the reliever missing most of the season and struggling upon his return late in the campaign.
Injuries further limited Merryweather this past season, with the Oklahoma Baptist University Alum being limited to just 26.2 innings for the Blue Jays, struggling to a 6.75 ERA and allowing one earned run or more in 11 of 26 appearances (including five games with two or more earned runs). The former Cleveland prospect features a fastball that can hit the upper 90s and an arsenal that includes a slider, changeup, and curveball. With the Jays, Merryweather authored a 5.64 ERA through 47 appearances across three seasons, earning a 1.367 WHIP, a 4.36 FIP, and an 8.5 K/9 through 52.2 innings.
Heading into the 2023 season, Merryweather appeared on the outside of the current bullpen picture and with no MiLB options remaining, the Jays decided to DFA him prior to Spring Training to make room for the Belt acquisition. That being said, the Jays now have seven days to either trade or place Merryweather on irrevocable waivers for other teams.
Since he has less than three years of service time (as per Baseball Reference), if he clears waivers, he will be assigned to Buffalo unless the front office decides to release him instead. I predict a trade is likely in the works, as there is a slim chance that he will pass through waivers unclaimed even with his injury history.
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