With the flow of time from January to February, the countdown to Spring Training is now officially underway. And with the Blue Jays unlikely to make many more moves prior to the start of camp on February 12th, we can all pass the time together by taking stock on what exactly we have to look forward to this Spring.
One of the first places to start would be the slew of non-roster invitees that will be showing up in camp in a matter of days. It gets lost in the excitement of all of the moves that Alex Anthopoulos has made this winter, just how many waiver claims and minor league deals he has made to help bolster the depth of the organization.
Over the course of the next few days, we’re going to look at the various players that will be given a shot to show what they can contribute. On Monday, we got things started by looking at the left-handed pitchers that will be showing up in camp on the 12th.
You can find that post here:
Moving on, let’s take a quick look at the Right Handed Pitchers that will be vying for work.
Chad Beck had an interesting journey this offseason. He was designated for assignment by the Blue Jays on October 22, 2012 and claimed by the Pirates three days later. The Pirates then sent him packing on December 26th and Toronto claimed him back on January 4th, eventually being outrighted to Buffalo. The 28-year-old has only made 17 appearances at the big league level and has been unspectacular, holding a 5.50 career ERA. Beck is destined for Buffalo, but may see a handful of appearances with Toronto should the need arise, but it will have to be a big need.
Just having Dave Bush back in house for the spring will make things interesting. That first awkward handshake with Gibby alone will be fun to watch. Bush will be looking to latch on with the team as starter depth in the minors, hoping for one final shot at making the Major League roster. He holds a 56-69 record in the big leagues with a 4.70 ERA and 6.0 K/9 ratio.
Justin Germano must be one shot away from looking at going overseas. The Blue Jays will be his sixth team, with most of them coming via the minor league contract with invite to big league camp. At 10-30 with a 5.27 in the Majors, Germano is noone’s idea of a fallback option, but he is 95-73 with a 3.71 ERA in the minors, so his best contributions to the organization will be as a proven starter for Buffalo.
The 38-year-old Ortiz just seems like he has been around since the invention of the radar gun. A veteran of 11 Major League seasons, Ortiz is 86-84 during his career with a 4.93 ERA, mostly as a starter. He spent all of 2012 with Triple-A Scranton/Wilkes-Barre of the Yankee organization, seemingly finding the fountain of youth with a 13-6 campaign with a 3.45 ERA. With the depth in the Blue Jays rotation this season, Ortiz is not likely to see any time at the big league level, but like Germano, he will be a key part of Buffalo’s staff.
The 22-year-old Stilson was a 3rd round selection of the Blue Jays in 2011 and is currently ranked as Toronto’s 11th best prospect according to MLB.com. The Blue Jays got him late in the draft after a shoulder injury plummeted his draft stock, but he has succeeded across two levels in the Toronto system in 2012 and the Blue Jays will give him a look this Spring. Stilson will likely return to Double-A New Hampshire to begin the season, but if he can refine his solid fastball, change-up, and curve, and lower his walk rate (3.6 BB/9), he could see Buffalo quickly.
The 28-year-old Australian is a unique invitee to camp. A veteran of 6 seasons, Thompson is not far removed from a 2011 campaign that saw him post a 1-3 record with a 3.00 ERA over 44 appearances. However, he most of 2012 at Triple-A after some early season struggles, where he went 4-2 with a 3.34 ERA and a 8.4 K/9 ratio. If he can put together another season like that in Buffalo, he could be an early option for call-up when the need arises in the Toronto bullpen.
At 34-years-old, it only seems like Claudio Vargas has been playing forever. He briefly retired in June of 2011 and has not appeared at the Major League level since. Vargas latched back on with the Milwaukee Brewers minor league system in 2012 and made 20 starts, going 7-1 with a 3.69 ERA. He will be a solid addition at Buffalo for 2013, and may see some spot starts with Toronto if he can stay effective while waiting in the wings.
Wagner is a 29-year-old who has made just 6 appearances at the Major League level, all with Oakland in 2011. Toronto will be his fourth organization, but he could be a quick cut if he does not impress early on in camp. His lack of production in 2012, albeit in the PCL, does not lend much hope to his ability to become more than a whim this Spring.