Credit: Derick E. Hingle-USA TODAY Sports

Blue Jays sign Tomo Ohka to minor league deal

It looks like Tomo Ohka is going to be back with the Toronto Blue Jays organization.

According to Shi Davidi, the 37-year-old Japanese right-handed pitcher has verbally agreed to a minor league contract with the Blue Jays and could start the season playing for the Double-A New Hampshire Fisher Cats.

Ohka was a free agent signing with the Blue Jays in 2007 but struggled in 56 innings with a 5.79 ERA and 1.607 WHIP, which led to his release that June. He had a short stint with the Cleveland Indians in 2009 before he returned to Japan to pitch for the Yokohama Bay Stars.

The cool thing about Ohka is that he’s attempting his comeback as a knuckleball pitcher, which Carson Cistulli picked up at Not Graphs back in November. He had a few solid seasons with the Montreal Expos back in the early 2000′s so it will be interesting to see if he can make the transition to a MLB knuckleballer.

Sure it’s a long shot that he would ever crack the Toronto Blue Jays MLB roster but according to MLB Trade Rumors the Baltimore Orioles were also interested so if he does turn out to be a diamond in the rough it’s better with the Blue Jays than elsewhere in the AL East.

That’s not to say that I’m expecting much, or anything, from Ohka but Fisher Cats games might have just gotten a little bit more interesting if the Ohka deal becomes official.

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Tags: Tomo Ohka Toronto Blue Jays

  • david s

    Good article this. I can hear the great unwashed making more out of this…. e.g., another mistake by AA, another old man, not another knuckleballer. One reason I hope the jays do well is to shut up the critics and get them off Gibby’s and AA’s backs. I really dislike uninformed, jaded criticism. Good luck to Ohka in New Hampshire. Bugger the prolies.

  • Jonathan Menon

    I think this might be more about giving the minor league catchers experience with knuckleballs than anything else.

  • bob l.

    there are two ways to look at this signing. the pessimist looks at it as organizational filler . which would give aj jiminez and some of the other catchers a look at the knuckleball like jonathan mentioned. not too bad. OR the optimist sees this as a signing of genius. say it with me…”tanaka bait” . here’s a pitcher who may be coming to mlb and what better team to go to than one with one of his fellow countryan. GREAT SIGN, AA!!

  • RyanMueller

    Good signing. We need to take risks and this is a low risk with questionable reward.