Blue Jays Claim Matt Peacock Off Waivers From Royals

The Blue Jays have claimed right-hander Matt Peacock off waivers from the Royals, as first reported by USA Today’s Bob Nightengale (Twitter link). Kansas City had designated Peacock for assignment last week.

Peacock, 28, has split the 2022 season so far between the Diamondbacks and Royals, yielding six runs in 10 big league innings. The former 23rd-round pick debuted with the D-backs last season but posted a pedestrian 4.90 ERA over 86 1/3 innings, logging an ugly 13% strikeout rate in that time. However, Peacock also posted a strong 7.7% walk rate and an outstanding 59.2% ground-ball rate in his debut campaign, and his rate stats from this season’s small sample of work generally match those displayed in his rookie effort.

He’s still only pitched 18 career innings at the Triple-A level, and the resulting 7.50 ERA isn’t much to look at. Peacock, though, has a 3.02 mark through a much larger sample of 116 2/3 innings at the Double-A level and has a history of huge ground-ball rates and low walk rates. He’s in his second minor league option year, so if the Jays hang onto him for more than a brief stint, he can be optioned freely both this year and next. If nothing else, he’ll provide some short-term depth to a staff that hasn’t performed up to expectations this year.

The Toronto pitching staff ranks 22nd in baseball with a 4.15 ERA and 16th with a 4.01 FIP. Part of that has been due to injury. Hyun Jin Ryu is done for the season and much of next following June’s Tommy John surgery. Nate Pearson has yet to throw a big league frame owing to both a lengthy bout of mononucleosis and now a lat strain. In the bullpen — Peacock’s likely role — the Jays are currently without Yimi Garcia and Julian Merryweather.

That said, the Jays also haven’t gotten the contributions they expected or hoped for from some key members of the staff. Jose Berrios and Yusei Kikuchi have struggled for much of the season in the rotation, as has Trevor Richards in the bullpen. Jordan Romano’s numbers overall are strong, but he’s hit a few bumps in the road after notching a 1.35 ERA through the season’s first month (4.02 ERA, 15.7% walk rate over his past 15 2/3 innings).

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