In a quiet holiday season, the Toronto Blue Jays have made a few under the radar type signings. They’ve offered MiLB deals to 2 pitchers.
Toronto Blue Jays
If you’ve been busy with friends and family this holiday season, you probably did so with the belief that the Blue Jays would be very quiet and that you wouldn’t miss anything. Well, they were quiet, but they weren’t inactive. According to Baseball America, the Blue Jays signed 2 pitchers to minor league deals. Now, they certainly aren’t earth shattering deals. But, depth is depth, right? Brandon Bixler and Gabe Noyalis will be brought into an organization that has been accused of not having enough pitching depth after recent mid-summer moves emptied their stockpile.
Bixler has spent his pro career playing in the Minnesota Twins organization with a year in independent ball. The 23 year old lefty has not pitched above A ball thus far, but shows some interesting strike out ability. Of course, his command has been an issue as well. You will note that he hasn’t really had a whole lot of time in any one season to really say he’s worked on anything. The highest inning total came in 2014 where he threw 74.
The other signing is of Gabe Noyalis. Baseball America says that he signed after the Blue Jays watched him during a workout. Apparently, the club was “impressed”. However, he hasn’t thrown in a game since pitching for Misericordia University as a sophomore in 2012. He told Joe Gerardi of the Sun Gazette that he was excited for the opportunity to play in the Blue Jays organization, something he didn’t think would be possible:
“After not playing for a few years thinking baseball was over for me, (so) getting opportunity to play professionally is unbelievable.”
He stepped away from baseball in 2012, but kept himself in physical shape. Apparently, his velocity went from mid 80s to mid to upper 90s. His hard work and dedication is a story of local boy “makes it”. As Blue Jays fans, we often get caught up in whether this move or that signing will help bring a World Series. But, for a guy like Noyalis, this story is about more than that.
Neither of these deals are meant as anything more than adding minor league talent. They should not be scrutinized with an eye to whether ownership is cheap, or the new regime is running this team into the ground. There will be plenty of these types of moves in the run of an offseason. It is just that when it is so quiet in Blue Jays Land, these signings stand out.