The Blue Jays have officially announced their signing of right-hander Chris Bassitt. To make room on the 40-man roster, left-hander Anthony Kay has been designated for assignment.
A first-round selection of the Mets in 2016, Kay was seen as a potential quick-to-the-majors starter based on the strength of his control. He underwent Tommy John surgery just a few months into his professional career, however, costing him the entire 2017 campaign. Kay returned with a new curveball to pair with his fastball-changeup combination, working his way to Triple-A by 2019.
Midway through that season, New York dealt him to the Blue Jays alongside Simeon Woods Richardson to land Marcus Stroman. Kay got to the big leagues briefly at the end of the year, making three appearances with Toronto. He’s appeared at the MLB level in each of the three subsequent seasons, though he’s yet to establish himself as a consistent presence on a big league staff.
Kay has made 28 MLB appearances, seven of which were starts. Over 70 2/3 innings, he owns a 5.48 ERA. Kay has averaged 94 MPH on his fastball and punched out a solid 23.5% of batters faced, but the plus control that was once his calling card has dipped. He’s walked nearly 12% of big league opponents, and the Jays have bounced him on and off the MLB roster the past few seasons.
Through parts of three Triple-A campaigns, the UCONN product owns a 6.02 ERA in 107 2/3 frames. He was limited to eight outings and 14 innings at that level this year, losing much of the season on the minor league injured list. Kay looked rusty in that stretch, surrendering 14 runs with 15 strikeouts and 11 walks.
Toronto will now have a week to trade Kay or place him on waivers. The 27-year-old still has a minor league option year remaining, so another team could stash him in Triple-A for a season if they’re willing to keep him on the 40-man roster. With between one and two years of MLB service, he won’t reach arbitration until after the 2024 season at the earliest.
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