Blue Jays select Tyler Heineman, place Danny Jansen on injured reserve
The Blue Jays announced tonight that they have selected the receiver Tyler Heineman on the big league club. Starting safety net Danny Janssen was placed on the 10-day disabled list after dealing with left side pain. To create space on the 40-player roster for Heineman, outfielder Josh Palacios has been designated for assignment. Toronto also recalled left-handed Anthony Kay of Triple-A Buffalo while going for the reliever Saucedo Tayler.
Heineman returns to the big leagues for the first time since 2020. He played with the Marlins and Giants between 2019 and 2020, racking up 62 cumulative plate appearances in 20 games. The safety net hitting the switch only hit 0.208/0.288/0.302 in this very brief action, but he has a strong line of 0.284/0.352/0.415 in parts of six Triple-A campaigns. Heineman went .264/.345/.310 in 41 games with the top Cardinals and Phillies affiliates last season. The UCLA product signed a minor league deal with the Jays this offseason and is quickly finding himself in the majors.
Unfortunately for the Jays, this resulted from an injury to their main receiver. An MRI revealed an oblique stump for Jansen, tweet Scott Mitchell of TSN Sports. The Jays didn’t provide an indication of the severity of the strain or a timeline for his return, but it’s not uncommon for oblique issues to keep a player out of action for several weeks.
Jansen has had his ups and downs offensively in the majors. The right-handed hitter hit 11 home runs in just 205 plate appearances last season, finishing the year on a .310/.365/.707 tear in the past month. Jansen had been off to a strong start, tallying four hits (including two home runs) in last weekend’s series with the Rangers. This will be put on hold for now.
Toronto now appears poised to rely on a combination of Alexander Kirk, Zack Collins and Heineman behind the dish. All three players are currently on the active roster, but Kirk and Collins are prime options who could also take time off the designated hitter. The Jays have the best hope Gabriel Moreno in Buffalo, but he only has three games of experience there. Moreno is already on the 40-man roster, but Toronto opted to go with veteran Heineman while giving the talented 22-year-old a more consistent run in the minors.
Palacios, 26, is a former fourth-round pick who was selected as one of 40 players during the 2020-21 offseason. He reached the majors for the first time last year but only played 13 games after spending much of the season on the minor league injured reserve. Thanks to the canceled 2020 minor league campaign, Palacios hasn’t had any extended playing action since 2019 with Double-A New Hampshire.
To his credit, the southpaw Palacios had a fine showing in a pitching-friendly environment that year. He hit .266/.371/.416 with 15 stolen bases, drawing walks at a robust 13.2% clip while hitting 20.5% of the time. Palacios only hit seven home runs, however, and that lack of power prevented him from emerging as one of the system’s top prospects.
Baseball America placed Palacios 30th in the organization this winter, writing that he has enough contact and athletic skills to function as a reserve outfield type. The Jays acquired Raimel Tapia of the Rockies in Spring Training to fill that role, seemingly pushing Palacios to the bottom of the depth chart. Still, it wouldn’t be surprising to see another team swing a minor trade or waiver request for the Brooklyn native. He still has two option years left and could add depth to the outfield at another organization.