Disappointment is likely the best word to describe the tenure of Esmil Rogers with the Toronto Blue Jays. The team designated the right-hander for assignment late Friday morning, severing ties with a player that cost them far more than he brought to the table.
Following Toronto’s decision to let manager John Farrell leave to take the same job in Boston after the 2012 season, the team received Mike Aviles from the Red Sox as compensation (with David Carpenter also going to Boston). Aviles never played a single game for the Blue Jays, as he was traded less than a month later along with Yan Gomes to the Cleveland Indians with Rogers coming back to Toronto in the deal. Both players have become regular pieces of the Indians lineup and continue to produce.
Rogers, 28, spent much of his first season in Toronto splitting time between the starting rotation and bullpen. He’d make 44 appearances on the year, including 20 starts, totaling 137.2 IP. He went 5-9 in that stretch with a 4.77 ERA and 1.424 WHIP. He’d shown team management enough that he was briefly considered as a starting option heading into the 2014 season, but found himself strictly used in a relief role once spring training camps broke. That’s when the wheels seemingly fell off.
In 16 appearances this season Rogers had posted an abysmal 6.97 ERA and 1.694 WHIP. His strikeout rate increased to 9.1 K/9, but he also allowed five home runs in just 20.1 innings of work. Given the price they paid to acquire him there is some sentiment that the organization has been hesitant to give up on Rogers, but the struggles simply continued and became too much of an issue.
Friday’s move was made in part to create room on the active roster for Liam Hendriks, who started the team’s game Friday evening. The 25 year old Australian had been 5-0 with a 1.48 ERA through nine starts at Triple-A on the year. In limited Major League action over the past three seasons he’s yet to be effective, however, as he holds a career 2-13 record, 6.06 ERA, and 1.590 WHIP in 156.0 IP.