Blue Jays find lefty help by inking Randy Choate to minor league deal
The Toronto Blue Jays were looking for some left-handed relief help and may have found it in veteran Randy Choate.
Since shutting down left-handed stalwart Aaron Loup with forearm tightness at the beginning of camp, the Toronto Blue Jays have been relatively unsure if they were going to look for a replacement until their LOOGY could return. Well, after determining that Loup wouldn’t be ready for Opening Day, the team went out and found a veteran placeholder.
On Friday, the team agreed to terms with left-hander Randy Choate on a minor league contract and invited the 40-year-old to camp according to Sweeney Murti of WFAN.
Choate spent the last three seasons as a member of the St. Louis Cardinals bullpen where he compiled a 3.56 ERA, a 3.24 FIP, and a 7.5 K/9 ratio over the course of 196 appearances. Most of those appearances lasted less than a full inning, as Choate has thrown just 98.2 innings over the last three season, showing just how he’s been used over the course of his career.
And that’s really the rub of it. Throughout the course of his career, Choate has strictly been a lefty specialist and he’s done that with style during his 15-year career. In stints with the Yankees, Diamondbacks, Rays, Marlins, Cardinals, and now Blue Jays, Choate has held left-handed hitters to a career slash-line of .195/.276/.274, surrendering just 10 home runs in 1036 plate appearances against southpaws. Those numbers have only been better over the last three seasons, with Choate owning lefties to the tune of .176/.270/.247 in St. Louis.
Of course, the Blue Jays made a similar signing last season, inking Phil Coke to a minor league deal in late May when Loup was struggling. Ultimately, he appeared in just two games with Toronto before being granted free agency three weeks later. With that in mind, Choate may simply be insurance if Pat Venditte doesn’t look like the solution coming out of camp.