MLB insiders report that the Blue Jays have released David Cooper. This move will no doubt come as a surprise to Jays fans and put the reality of Cooper’s back injuries into the forefront.
Cooper, 26, was the Jays first round draft pick in 2008 and has faired well in a sample size of MLB playing time. However, games at the MLB level have been limited because the Jays already have Adam Lind – another left handed hitting 1B/DH type – under contract. With this season being Lind’s last guaranteed year on his deal (the club holds options for the next two seasons), it was thought that if Lind didn’t perform, the Jays would buyout the option and give Cooper a shot.
In 2011, Cooper was the Pacific Coast League batting champ, posting a .364 and driving in 96 runs. The knock on Cooper has been his lack of home run power – that same 2011 year in triple-A, of his 170 hits that season were homers (although he did rake 51 doubles).
In 45 games with the Jays in 2012, Cooper posted a .300 avg, .324 obp, .464 slg batting line in 145 plate appearances, including four home runs.
The Jays have not ruled out re-signing Cooper as a minor league free agent in 2014 if he can rehab through his serious disc issues, but for now he is a free agent.
My sense is the Jays have little to no confidence that Cooper will ever be healthy enough to play another game at the big league level or they wouldn’t cut him loose so quickly. He wasn’t arbitration eligible until 2016 and not schedule to be a free agent until 2019.
It’s sad to see Cooper’s career trail off like this while he’s so young. I wish him the best and hope he can rehab and prove the Jays wrong. I also hope his back issues are not so serious they limit him elsewhere in life off the ball field.