Blue Jays Designate Anthony Bass For Assignment


The Blue Jays announced that right-hander Mitch White has been reinstated from the 60-day injured list and will be active for tonight’s game. Fellow righty Anthony Bass was designated for assignment in a corresponding move.

Bass, 35, was acquired from the Marlins at last year’s trade deadline. Between the two clubs, he posted a 1.54 ERA on the season. The Blue Jays exercised a $3MM club option to keep him around for 2023 but his results have taken a step back this season, as he has a 4.95 ERA thus far. His 26.5% strikeout rate from last year is down to 21.6% here in 2023, his walk rate has gone from 7.3% to 10.2% and his ground ball rate from 41.2% to 38.3%.

Beyond the poor on-field results, Bass has made plenty of headlines in recent days for other reasons. For those unfamiliar, Keegan Matheson of MLB.com yesterday provided a rundown of the storyline that has surrounded Bass in recent weeks. It started on May 29 when the pitcher shared a video on Instagram wherein companies supporting the LGBTQ2S+ community were described as “evil” and “demonic.”

Bass read a written apology last week but did not take questions afterward. “We’re not going to pretend like this never happened,” manager John Schneider said at that time. “We’re not going to pretend like it’s the end and move on. There are definitely more steps that are going to follow.”

The issue came up again yesterday when Bass met with the media and did take questions this time. Though he maintained he was committed to self-reflection and working with Pride Toronto executive director Sherwin Modeste, he also seemed more upset by the negative attention than the actual content of what he shared. “I just felt like it was too much of a distraction. But I stand by my personal beliefs,” Bass said in relation to eventually deleting the video, “and everyone is entitled to their personal beliefs, right?”

It isn’t fully known what motivated the Jays to make today’s move, as it could theoretically be claimed that it was merely the result of Bass’s on-field performance and the return of White. But it was reported just yesterday that Bass was going to catch the ceremonial first pitch at tonight’s game, the start of Pride Weekend. It seems fair to expect that those plans have now changed, though general manager Ross Atkins will speak to the media at 3pm Eastern/2pm Central, per Matheson.

The Jays will now have one week to trade Bass or pass him through waivers. In the event he clears waivers, he would have the right to reject an outright assignment and elect free agency while retaining all of his salary, as a player with more than five years of service time. If that comes to pass, the Jays would remain on the hook for that money and any other club could sign him for the prorated league minimum for any time spent on the active roster.

As for White, he was acquired from the Dodgers last year. He had a 3.70 ERA at the time of the deal but struggled with a 7.74 mark after. He came into Spring Training set to compete with Yusei Kikuchi for the fifth starter job but suffered a shoulder impingement in February and elbow inflammation in March. He’s been on the injured list all season and began a rehab assignment in late April. He was throwing multi-inning outings, seemingly planning for a return to work as a starter, but was shut down for a few days in late May due to shoulder fatigue. He resumed his rehab in recent weeks but has been pitching shorter outings and now seems tickets for relief work, at least for the time being.

The Blue Jays have a hole in their rotation since optioning Alek Manoah recently, leaving them with Kevin Gausman, Chris Bassitt, José Berríos and Kikuchi, with tomorrow’s starter still listed as TBD. They selected Bowden Francis recently and he could perhaps take the bulk of the innings, though White could factor in as well.


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