OAKLAND, Calif. – The Toronto Blue Jays began a roster recalibration Sunday by claiming Nolan Reimold off waivers from the Baltimore Orioles with an eye towards giving the talented but oft-injured outfielder a chance to play regularly.
Outfielder Brad Glenn was designated for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster for Reimold but his spot on the big-league club was taken by outfielder Cole Gillespie, claimed by off waivers from the Seattle Mariners on Saturday and in Sunday’s starting lineup.
Another move will need to be made for Reimold, who is expected to join the club in the next couple of days in Anaheim.
“He’ll get a lot of playing time, see what he is,” said manager John Gibbons. “His big thing is staying healthy, he’s had trouble doing that over his career. This is his opportunity, there wasn’t a spot for him over in Baltimore … he’ll come here and help us out.”
Reimold, 30, has a career OPS of .766 in 286 games with the Orioles and unlike many of the other players the Blue Jays have cycled through the roster in recent weeks, doesn’t have extreme platoon splits (.775 OPS versus righties, .749 against lefties).
That’s why the Blue Jays see him as someone with the potential to become a regular, a development that would provide them with an opportunity to leverage Jose Bautista’s flexibility around the diamond.
Bautista was in the field Sunday for the first time since injuring his hamstring at first base, a void now with Edwin Encarnacion expected to hit the disabled list with a quad injury.
“Ultimately he’s an outfielder, that’s where he belongs,” said Gibbons. “But this should help his leg a little more, as long as he doesn’t get stepped on.”
Still, should Encarnacion miss an extended period, Bautista gives them another option at first, or he could also be used at third base, allowing Brett Lawrie to slide in at second base once he returns from the disabled list.
There are several dominoes that need to fall before anything remotely near that scenario falls into place – first and foremost Reimold returning from a second neck surgery and performing effectively – but the Blue Jays are trying to create some flexibility for themselves.
First baseman/DH Adam Lind continues to struggle with a right foot injury, adding impetus to using Bautista at first base.
Dan Johnson has been performing well at triple-A Buffalo and offers a left-handed option there, and the Blue Jays still have extra outfielders with Gillespie and Darrin Mastroianni on the roster.