The Toronto Blue Jays have added a veteran presence to their minor-league depth, signing right-handed pitcher Jarrett Grube. Grube has also been invited to major-league spring training. The team announced the move on Monday.
Grube, now 35, has travelled a long road through the minors since being drafted by the Colorado Rockies in 2004. His only MLB appearance came in 2014 with the Angels where Grube recorded two outs and allowed a home run to Yoenis Cespedes.
Otherwise, Grube has seen it all. Independent ball, Dominican Winter League, Venezuelan Winter League, Arizona Fall League, Mexican League, single-A through to triple-A. You name a league, and Grube has probably thrown a pitch in it.
He’s enjoyed some success over the past few seasons at the triple-A level, though, which continued in 2016 with a 3.92 ERA over 119.1 innings split between Seattle and Cleveland. In 2015, Grube pitched very well in the Mexican League with Tigres de Quintana Roo and put up a 2.26 ERA over 79.2 innings with triple-A Columbus.
It’s extremely unlikely that the Blue Jays see any MLB-level impact from an arm like Grube’s, but the presence of pitchers like him is still vital to the function of every organization.
Last season the Buffalo Bisons had a reliable duo in their rotation with Scott Diamond and Wade LeBlanc. Chris Leroux also gave them 140.1 innings while Roberto Hernandez and Scott Copeland combined for another 25 starts. Expect to see Grube take a mid-rotation spot and chew through innings.
Having these “regular” players on a double-A or triple-A team is valuable because it allows for Toronto to move their young prospects around more freely. When a team is caught without proper depth (meaning without players like Grube), then younger players can be advanced too quickly to fill a hole which can negatively impact their development.