The Blue Jays have officially signed right-handed reliever Jon Rauch to a 1-year/$3.5M contract with a $3.75M club option for 2012, as per an official team press release.
I touched on the prospect of signing the mammoth 6’11″, 290-pound Rauch back on the 14th, and you can find that post here.
This is another great signing by GM Alex Anthopoulos, as it provides the Jays flexibility after this season. Rauch will now enter the mix for the closer’s role, and will provide Octavio Dotel with some healthy competition.
Rauch, 32, has been pitching his best ever since he returned to the American League when he was acquired by the Minnesota Twins from the Arizona Diamondbacks on October 28th, 2009, and the Twins decided to keep him after the 2009 season by exercising his $2.9M club option for 2010. In 76 games with the Twins dating back to the trade, Rauch has gone 8-2 with a 2.82 ERA, 2.5 BB/9, and 7.4 K/9 in 73.1 innings.
Rauch is durable, as he has pitched at least 70 innings every season from 2006-2009. He dealt with minor injuries this past season though, which limited him to 57.1 innings. Rauch has had a FIP over 4 only once in his last seven seasons, and he posted the second highest ground ball rate of his career in 2010 (37.7%).
With Rauch in the fold, this should mean the end of bullpen additions this offseason. As I pointed out in my article on the 14th, is should be really interesting to see Rauch work with Jays pitching coach Bruce Walton and emphasize a changeup, something that has worked for him in the past.