According to a recent rumor, the Toronto Blue Jays may be looking to catch lightning in a bottle with LHP, Cory Luebke.
Well, we asked for it. It has been so quiet in Blue Jays Land that we’ve been begging for some kind of rumor or something to keep us warm in the early winter days. Well, today we got a rumor, alright. It might not be the type of rumor we’d hope for, but it is the one we should be expecting at this point.
According to Jon Morosi of Fox Sports, the Blue Jays could be looking to catch lightning in a bottle via a reclamation project of sorts. Apparently, the club is showing interest in LHP Cory Luebke.
Toronto Blue Jays
Luebke just might be the definition of a reclamation project. He hasn’t pitched in the big leagues since 2012. That season, he experienced elbow soreness and then underwent Tommy John surgery in May. His recovery didn’t go so well and his comeback was stopped short after needing a second surgery in February, 2014. Last season, he attempted his comeback, but logged minimal innings starting in A+ and moving through AA to AAA. In total, he threw just 7 innings in 2015 with a combined ERA of 9.00 ERA. So, the jury is out on whether his comeback was successful.
Before his surgeries, Luebke bounced back and forth between the San Diego Padres rotation and bullpen. Never seeing more than 88 innings in a year, he threw 139 in 2011 to a 6-10 record with an ERA of 3.29 and a FIP of 2.93 to a 2.7 WAR. That kind of pitching just might be what the doctor ordered for a Blue Jays squad that is looking to develop pitching depth on the cheap.
Realistically speaking, this has minor league deal written all over it. And, if you believe in the axiom that there is no bad minor league deal, you are likely OK with this idea. It also should be mentioned that the AAA Buffalo Bisons need a lot of arms. It’s looking pretty empty in the Bisons locker room. If the deal works out, Luebke could provide an arm in Buffalo with the potential to be called up if needed.
Luebke may never see time in Toronto. And coming off two reconstructive surgeries, this potential deal shouldn’t be looked at with that purpose. If the rumor is true, Luebke represents the kind of deal the Blue Jays will be seeking form this point forward. They’ll look for reclamation projects that offer very little risk. Another option that has been considered (at least by fans) is that of taking a shot at Cliff Lee.
Both of these guys are coming back from injuries that saw them miss a lot of time recently. The difference is that Luebke doesn’t have nearly the track record that a Cliff Lee does and therefor can be had for a much lower value. There is no way that Lee would accept a minor league deal at this point. Instead, targets like Luebke are the order of the day.
Again, assuming there is some truth to this rumor, it really is a low risk gamble on the part of the Toronto Blue Jays. It really won’t cost them much and the potential payoff is depth. That is something that is lacking at this point in the organization. At best, it provides a possible call up arm to fill some innings. At worst, it is just another name on the wheel of depth. The club will look to put as many names as possible on that wheel in the hopes that one or two of them pay off.