Last week we mentioned that the Blue Jays had signed right-hander Claudio Vargas to a minor-league deal with an invitation to spring training. The Blue Jays made that deal official on Tuesday, along with four other signings meant to shore up the depth in Buffalo.
In addition to Vargas, the Blue Jays also inked right-hander Richard Thompson, left-hander Juan Perez, third baseman Eugenio Velez, and first baseman/designated hitter Luis Jimenez. All four signings include an invitation to spring training with the major league club.
The 28-year-old Australian Thompson spent 2012 with the Oakland Athletics organization. He has spent parts of six major league seasons with both the A’s and the Angels, making 82 relief appearances with a career ERA of 4.21 and a K/9 ratio of 9.0. While his strike-out rates are solid, it is his 3.2 BB/9 ratio that gets Thompson in trouble and has prevented him from becoming a bigger factor in the bullpen. He’ll serve as organizational depth should an injury arise with the current bullpen staff.
Juan Perez is a another bullpen arm that the Jays will take a look at. The 34-year-old has made just 42 appearances at the major league level with a solid 10.1 K/9 ratio. However, his walk ratio of 7.2 makes Thompson look like a pillar of control. Given his track record, and his age, it would be tough to imagine Perez breaking camp with either Jays or even being optioned back to Triple-A. There just is not enough upside here.
Eugenio Velez has spent parts of five seasons in the major leagues, playing for the Dodgers and Giants. However, he spent all of 2012 at Triple-A Memphis (Cardinals). He is a .241 career hitter at the major league level, with a .654 career OPS. Velez’s numbers are much better at the minor league level, where he has a career .798 OPS over 764 games. Velez’s claim to fame is that he owns the major league record for consecutive hitless at-bats (37) to start a season at He’s a decent fielder though, which could provide Toronto with short-term relief should an injury arise.
Luis Jimenez is the last of the recent additions. The 30-year-old former Mariner made his major league debut in 2012, but received only 18 plate appearances and garnering only a single hit. However, he is a .287 hitter at the minor league level, with a career .845 OPS over 962 games. Jimenez has decent pop at the plate, and should help to replace some of the power in the minors lost when Mike McDade was claimed by the Cleveland Indians. However, he does not look to get much of a chance in Toronto in the near future.
Tags: Toronto Blue Jays