Toronto Blue Jays claim Andy Dirks off waivers from Detroit Tigers


Just two days after the completion of the 2014 World Series and the Toronto Blue Jays are already out in full force for the 2014-2015 offseason. After completing a trade yesterday that marks the return of Liam Hendriks from the Kansas City Royals and earlier this week claiming first baseman Justin Smoak from the Seattle Mariners, Alex Anthopoulos and team struck again on Friday, claiming outfielder Andy Dirks from the Detroit Tigers.

The claiming of Dirks is a classic Anthopoulos move, plucking a player off of waivers in hopes of rekindling the hopes his previous team had for him. The Blue Jays made a similar move last season, when they grabbed outfielder Nolan Reimold in hopes of finding the right-handed batter the team badly needed. Then there was Juan Francisco. However, neither end result could truly be labeled a triumph.

In the case of Andy Dirks, the Detroit Tigers  thought highly enough of Dirks to have him slated to be the team’s starting left fielder in 2014. However, a back surgery sidelined the 28-year-old in Spring Training and he was unable to start a rehab assignment until mid-June, then suffered multiple setbacks with both his back and hamstrings before he was shutdown for the season.

Ultimately, Dirks would appear in just 14 games in 2014, all at the Minor League level.

More from Toronto Blue Jays Rumors

The Blue Jays are not looking at Dirks for his 2014 season though, hoping that instead they can get the guy that has hit .276/.332/.413 over his 297 Major League games. That holds well with his Minor League production, where Dirks has a .289/.350/.428 slash-line over 323 career games.

Another solid point in Dirks’ favor is that he doesn’t suffer from the traditional splits of other left-handed batters. Over 863 plate appearances against right-handed pitching, Dirks slashes .278/.333/.418, while left-handers are hit for a .265/.328/.392 slash. Dirks also grades well in the outfield, having registered 14 Defensive Runs Saved and a career UZR/150 of 1.7 (13.3 in 2013).

His release from Detroit is rather interesting, and may be more telling about the financial constraints the Tigers face this winter. Dirks is just second-year arbitration eligible and since he missed all of 2014, he would be unlikely to see any sort of raise on his 2014 salary of $1.625 million.

For the Blue Jays, Dirks is seen as a bit of a lottery ticket, albeit one to hedge their bets on should they lose Melky Cabrera to free agency. That said, Dirks is also a bit redundant as a back-up option. The Jays will have both Kevin Pillar and Anthony Gose competing for a job or possibly platooning in 2015. However, the addition of Dirks could possibly mean that top prospect Dalton Pompey starts the season at Triple-A Buffalo unless he overwhelms his way onto the active roster.

It’ll be interesting as we learn more about Dirks, his health, and the Blue Jays intentions for him in the coming days. Hopefully Toronto has more in the works here, including re-signing Melky Cabrera, but you can hardly fault the team for taking a flyer on Andy Dirks.