The Toronto Blue Jays continued to build minor league depth on Thursday, inking former Milwaukee Brewer Claudio Vargas to a one-year, minor league deal that will include an invitation to spring training.
Vargas, a 34-year-old right-hander from the Dominican Republic, briefly retired from the game in 2011 but returned in 2012 with the Triple-A Nashville Sound, a Milwaukee Brewers affiliate. Vargas made 20 starts for Nashville last season, accumulating a record of 7-1 with an ERA of 3.69 and 84 strike-outs over the course of 109.2 innings pitched.
In his last stint in the majors, with Milwaukee in 2010, Vargas appeared in 17 games, all in relief. He struggled to a 7.32 ERA, giving up 16 runs in just 19.2 innings pitched.
With a minor league deal, the Blue Jays will likely see what Vargas has left his tank without any major commitments. With his ability to both start when needed and pitch in relief, ideally Vargas would be able to give Toronto a similar contribution to that of Carlos Villanueva a year ago.
While that may be a lofty goal, it is simply a roll of the dice. At worst, they have some depth in Buffalo in case injury strikes. All and all, its a pretty small gamble.