Blue Jays sign hard-throwing RHP Radhames Liz to minor league deal


David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

So of course, on the one weekend that I decide to take off from writing, the Toronto Blue Jays go out and have arguably the most exciting 24-hour period of the off-season, which I’m not sure if you would say is technically over or not.

While most of the attention has centered around free agent pitcher Ervin Santana, the Blue Jays did make an actual roster move, albeit minor, that was reported by Matt Eddy of Baseball America on Friday night. The Blue Jays have also confirmed the transaction on their official team page.

Radhames Liz, 30, signed with the Baltimore Orioles as an amateur free agent out of the Dominican Republic as a 19-year-old back in 2003. At the end of the 2007 season, he was considered the Orioles’ second best prospect by Baseball America, who ranked him #69 in their Top 100 that year. BA considered his fastball the best in the Eastern League.

He started 17 games for the Orioles in 2008 but was unimpressive with a 6.72 ERA, 1.779 WHIP and 1.12 K/BB rate. The O’s tried him in the bullpen the following year since command was an issue but after only two appearances designated him for assignment. The San Diego Padres claimed him off waivers but were left equally unimpressed, which led to Liz leaving for Korea to rediscover his career in 2011.

According to Shi Davidi of Sportsnet, Liz will be rehabbing a knee injury until mid-season. Further Googling has revealed it was a slight fracture in his right knee, according to his KBO team the LG Twins (h/t Yonhap News Agency). Back in January, it was expected he would need up to four months in order to fully recover.

The injury makes him even more of a flyer but because he was signed to a minor league deal, there is little to no risk for the Blue Jays. I’m not sure if they plan to try him as a starter again or as a reliever but at least they won’t need to worry about rearranging the 40-man to make room for him when healthy, unless they are fairly sure he can contribute something at the major league level.

It’s a long shot but who knows, maybe the Blue Jays will get lucky and find a diamond in the rough with Liz. After all, if you believe KBO radar guns, he was throwing 100 MPH last year. Now if he can find a way to do that in the strike zone here in North America, I wouldn’t be shocked to see Liz get another cup of coffee at the MLB level.