The Mariners have announced a trade with the Blue Jays that will see left-hander Ryan Borucki head to Seattle in exchange for corner infielder Tyler Keenan. The M’s have also designated infielder Mike Ford for assignment to create 40-man roster space for Borucki.
The Jays designated Borucki for assignment on Tuesday, and today’s trade officially ends the southpaw’s lengthy stay in the Toronto organization. Borucki was a 15th-round pick for the Blue Jays back in 2012, and made an impressive debut by posting a 3.87 ERA over 97 2/3 innings and 17 starts in his 2018 rookie season. However, elbow problems (which required a bone spur surgery) hampered him for much of the next two years, and the Jays turned Borucki into a reliever for the 2020 campaign.
This transition seemed promising, as Borucki had a 2.70 ERA and 28.8% strikeout rate in 16 2/3 frames in the shortened season, though a 16.4% walk rate was a big red flag. Beyond the injuries, walks and home runs were Borucki’s biggest problems over his last 53 1/3 Major League innings, which saw him post a 5.57 ERA since the start of the 2019 season.
Since Borucki is out of minor league options, the Blue Jays had to pursue the DFA route in order to remove him from their 40-man roster, and the Mariners jumped in to arrange a trade. Roenis Elias and Anthony Misiewicz are the only left-handers in the Seattle bullpen and neither southpaw is having a particularly strong year, so while Borucki himself hasn’t done well (9.95 ERA in 6 1/3 IP) over limited action in 2022, the M’s are hoping that a change of scenery could help the 28-year-old get on track.
Ford has appeared in 15 games with the Mariners this season, hitting .179./378/.214 over 37 plate appearances and working mostly as a DH and pinch-hitter. The M’s signed Ford to a minor league deal in March, and this is already the third time that Ford has been designated in less than six weeks’ time. After Seattle initially DFA’ed him in late April, the Giants acquired Ford in a trade, only for the Mariners to re-acquire Ford a couple of weeks later when San Francisco themselves sent Ford to the DFA wire.
Keenan was a fourth-round pick for the Mariners out of the University of Mississippi during the 2020 draft. The 23-year-old has spent both of his pro seasons at the high-A level, hitting .212/.317/.367 with nine home runs over 376 total plate appearances. Keenan has played both corner infield spots, with the bulk of his time coming as a third baseman.