The Toronto Blue Jays have signed veteran second baseman Alexi Casilla to a minor league contract, according to Baseball America
The Blue Jays have been making a regular appearance on Baseball America’s minor league transactions, which is a Monday morning must-read.
Today comes the news that the Jays have signed second baseman Alexi Casilla, who last played in the major leagues with the Baltimore Orioles in 2013-2014.
Now 31-years-old, the Domincan-born Casilla holds a career slash line of .247 / .302 / .331 over nine major league seasons between Minnesota and Baltimore.
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He did enjoy some modest success at the triple-A level last year, however, which he split between Toledo (Detroit Tigers) and Durham (Tampa Bay Rays). In 94 games at that level, Casilla batted .287 with four home runs and 31 RBI. He also stole 10 bases, and has been able to maintain a comfortable stolen-base percentage through his career.
On the defensive side, Casilla has seen over 3500 innings at second base with just over 500 at shortstop. His UZR/150 of -2.1 at second is not terribly exciting, though he does grade out better at shortstop (over a sample size that’s a bit too small).
The fit I see here is that Casilla is the Maicer Izturis replacement.
While perhaps not Izturis’ equal when both are healthy and performing, the surprise retirement of Izturis did leave a small gap in the organization’s middle-infield depth. Not enough to call it a pure “hole”, but he had been signed for a reason.
Casilla will now fill that small void on the depth chart and, assuming he sticks with the club, provide the Jays with a veteran in the upper minors. Given the depth in place already, though, Casilla is still multiple injuries away from any from of major league consideration.