Toronto Blue Jays News

Report: Blue Jays Sign Pitcher Brad Penny to MiLB Deal

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The Toronto Blue Jays continued their search for pitching depth with the signing of veteran right hander, Brad Penny to a minor league deal.

The Toronto Blue Jays have continued their efforts in adding pitching depth. We heard previously that the club was interested in Cory Luebke, perhaps in an attempt at catching lightning in a bottle. Well, another one of those type of moves has come to fruition. This one might be less likely to produce electricity, but still…

According to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN, the Blue Jays have signed Brad Penny to a minor league deal with an invite to spring training.

Penny is a 37 year old righty who has had some success at the big league level. But, that was a while ago. Back in 2006 and 2007, he was an All Star who won 16 games in each season for the Dodgers. He would finish 3rd in Cy Young voting in ’07. Since then, he’s bounced around from LA to Boston, San Francisco, St Louis, Detroit and back to San Francisco.

Toronto Blue Jays
Toronto Blue Jays /

Toronto Blue Jays

After that, his career got really interesting. According to the Wikipedia page dedicated to him, in 2012, he signed with the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks in Japan for $3M. He threw in one game and gave up 6 runs in just over 3 innings. He asked ot be pulled form the game because of an elbow injury. He had an MRI in Japan and one in the US that both said nothing was wrong. He was released a month later. In May of that year, he was back with the Giants. Since then, he’s bounced around on minor league deals with the Royals, Marlins and White Sox. His most recent MLB experience saw 26 innings in 2014 with the Marlins. 

For his career, he’s 121-101 with an ERA of 4.29. His career WHIP sits at 1.376. He’s a career 26.8 WAR pitcher who hasn’t seen a positive value since 2011. But, if he indeed does throw at 94 mph (Fangraphs has him at 92 in 2014) still and can maintain his nearly 50% career groundball rate, maybe this won’t be so bad.

But, if you are expecting this to be a move that adds depth at the big league level, you are mistaken. This is an attempt to fill out the minor league pitching depth, not all of which will have an impact on the parent club’s staff. Something would have to go very right for Penny, or very wrong for the Blue Jays for him to be a major contributor, either as a starter or a reliever. Given the state of the AAA Buffalo Bisons roster, we can expect more of these moves, much like the signing of Wade LeBlanc. These deals and the idea of looking into Luebke, fall under the category of “no such thing as a bad minor league deal”.

Next: Blue Jays Sign Wade LeBlanc

If Penny indeed has something of value left in the tank, it can only help the organization. If he doesn’t, they haven’t really lost anything. Minor league deals do not exactly break the bank. In an offseason of counting pennies, the Blue Jays started with one.

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