Despite changing their focus to the team’s bullpen needs, the Toronto Blue Jays remain vigilant on finding potential diamond in the rough position players. On Monday, the first day of the MLB Winter Meetings, the Blue Jays claimed first baseman/outfielder Chris Colabello off waivers from the Minnesota Twins according to a tweet from Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi.
The 30-year-old Colabello appeared headed to South Korea around this time last season when the Twins were discussing selling his contract to the LG Twins. However, Colabello ultimately rejected the offer, preferring to stay in Minnesota in 2014. That decision appeared to be a wise decision initially, as Colabello came out of the gates strong, putting up a .295/.343/.484 slash -line with 3 home runs and 27 RBI in March and April. However, he was jammed on a pitch on April 23rd and endured lingering issues with his thumb from that point forward in the season.
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Colabello would play in just 39 more games at the Major League level, struggling to a .157/.219/.260 batting line with 3 home runs and 13 RBI the remainder of the season. He would also make 61 appearances at Triple-A Rochester, where the struggles subsided a bit with Colabello hitting .268/.336/.469 with 10 home runs and 38 RBI with the Red Wings.
With that all said, the thumb injury appears to be behind Colabello, according to Pioneer Press reporter Mike Bernadino and did not require surgery. Also as noted by Bernadino, Colabello spends his winters working with Josh Donaldson, who will now be his teammate with the Toronto Blue Jays. That is of course, if Colabello survives the winter chess match that Alex Anthopoulos likes to play with the waiver wire.
The Blue Jays intend to give Colabello a look as a first base/designated hitter option, someone that can possibly challenge Justin Smoak for the role, according to Gregor Chisholm of MLB.com.
Danny Valencia also looms as potential competition for that role, as well as a right-handed bat on the bench. Valencia’s ability to play third base may give him the current edge in that matter though.