Blue Jays Sign Jon Rauch

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.


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Tags: Jon Rauch Octavio Dotel Toronto Blue Jays

  • Mat Germain

    I’d like to add the fact that Rauch qualified as a Type B FA this off season. If all goes well and the Jays use their option for 2012, he could net them a sandwich pick as a minimum. If he starts closing, he could very well qualify as a Type A, which would be golden for AA and the Jays staff.

    I like this veteran addition. Even if the Jays do fall off at some point in the year, they could still use him as very valuable trade bait – particularly since the acquiring team would gain the option the Jays have on him in 2012, making him more than a rental player.

    I fail to see any risk here and see nothing but upside.

    If given the choice, would you rather have Scott Downs, Brian Tallet, and Kevin Gregg? Or, would you rather have Octavio Dotel, Jon Rauch, and Carlos Villanueva? Downs is the best out of the bunch, but the upgrade from Tallet to V is substantial enough to equalize it. All-in-all, I think the Jays will do better in the pen in 2010 not due to more talent existing there, but more so because John Farrell will use their skills more effectively.

    Great Stuff!

  • Keith

    Agreed we will hopefully get the advantage of using the bullpen “pieces” to their individual strengths. I think it will work work out as follows:
    Roach as closer
    Dotel/Fraser – late inning and situational vs RHB
    Purcey – Late inning and situational vs LHB
    Jansen – mid inning
    Villenauva – long man, may also be used vs LHB as his splits are favourable.

    I’d like to see Roenicke win the last spot, but he will really have to step forward in the spring and throw strikes to do so. I’m not putting Zep in here because I’m hoping he is the 5th starter.

    I can also see AA stockpiling a Litsch, Carlson, Mills and Ray as potential trade pieces.

    • keith

      Oops forgot Camp….That makes things interesting. We are at 7 without any of the others like Roenicke, Mills, Ray, Litsch/Zep.
      A little competition is a good thing:)

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