By: Jay Blue
Blue Jays From Away
As the Blue Jays head into their home opener on Tuesday, news emerged of a couple of transactions as the Blue Jays claimed infielder Ty Kelly and released two players on minor league contracts, Matt Buschmann and Ryan Metzler.
Kelly, 28, was a Buffalo Bison in 2015 after the Blue Jays claimed him on waivers from the Cardinals in July of that year. The versatile infielder hit .264/.331/.313 in 38 games with the Bisons after hitting just .203/.317/.286 with the Memphis Redbirds earlier in the year. Kelly started 2016 in Triple-A Las Vegas, having joined the Mets’ system, and was destroying the Pacific Coast League with a .391/.478/.548 slash line, hitting 12 doubles and two home runs in his first 35 games, earning him a call up to the Mets.
He had a few brief call ups and hit a respectable .241/.352/.345 in 71 plate appearances in the bigs and went 1/1 with a single in his only postseason plate appearance. He got into one game this year with the Mets but was put on waivers and claimed by the Blue Jays.
Kelly’s versatility is probably his biggest draw. In just 23 games on defense for the Mets, Kelly played 10 at third base, eight in left field, two at second base, one in center field, one at first base and one in right. While most of his time is at third base, he has also spent a lot of time (287 games) at second and 143 in left field and can play pretty much anywhere on the diamond except pitcher and catcher.
Kelly, a member of Team Israel in the 2017 WBC, has one option year remaining and will likely be assigned to the Buffalo Bisons. To make room for him on the 40-man roster, Glenn Sparkman was transferred to the 60-day DL.
In his weekly Minor League Transactions column, Matt Eddy reports that the Blue Jays released relief pitcher Matt Buschmann and infielder Ryan Metzler this week. Buschmann was signed on a minor league deal in late February but didn’t earn a job on any of the rosters and Metzler, a ninth-round pick by the Blue Jays in the 2014 draft out of the University of South Carolina-Aiken.
Metzler had his best season with the Vancouver Canadians in 2015, hitting .283./341/.365 in 46 games before spending 2016 mostly in Lansing, playing as a utility infielder.
We also found out that righty Miguel Castro, who went to the Colorado Rockies in the deal that brought Troy Tulowitzki to Toronto, was traded to the Baltimore Orioles after being designated for assignment by the Rockies.