The Cubs announced Friday that they had claimed lefthanded reliever Anthony Kay on waivers from the Toronto Blue Jays.
Kay is 27 and was the Mets’ No. 1 pick (31st overall) in the 2016 Draft out of UConn. The Jays acquired him in July 2019 in the Marcus Stroman deal, so there’s a Cubs connection.
Over the last four years Kay has pitched in 28 games (seven starts) for the Blue Jays with an 5.48 ERA and 1.500 WHIP. He didn’t pitch much in 2022 between Class A Dunedin, Triple-A Buffalo and Toronto, missing most of the year with some sort of undisclosed injury.
Since he didn’t pitch much this past season, here’s his pitch selection chart from 2021:
That’s a pretty good variety of pitches and he throws a fairly hard four-seamer. He’s got a pretty good K rate (9.8 per nine innings), but also walks a lot of guys (4.8 per nine innings), which seems fairly typical for fungible relievers like this.
Kay hasn’t wasted any time sending the news out on Twitter:
Kay will turn 28 during Spring Training and if healthy, could be a useful bullpen piece. Or, the Cubs could try to run him through waivers at some point this offseason and assign him to Triple-A Iowa. As always, we await developments.
To make room for Kay on the 40-man roster, Alfonso Rivas was designated for assignment. While Rivas played a good defensive first base, he never hit enough to really stick in the big leagues. Overall in 336 MLB plate appearances between 2021 and 2022, he hit .247/.331/.322 with four home runs.
The Cubs will also need to make more room on the 40-man when the Drew Smyly and Tucker Barnhart signings are officially announced, so stay tuned.
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