Toronto Blue Jays News

Blue Jays sign Brett Oberholtzer to minor league deal

Sep 20, 2016; Arlington, TX, USA; Los Angeles Angels relief pitcher Brett Oberholtzer (38) throws a pitch in the seventh inning against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington.Texas won 5-4. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports
Sep 20, 2016; Arlington, TX, USA; Los Angeles Angels relief pitcher Brett Oberholtzer (38) throws a pitch in the seventh inning against the Texas Rangers at Globe Life Park in Arlington.Texas won 5-4. Mandatory Credit: Tim Heitman-USA TODAY Sports /
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The Blue Jays made a depth signing on Wednesday, agreeing to a minor league deal with Brett Olberholtzer

In a move likely made to shore up bullpen depth, the Blue Jays signed Brett Olberholtzer to a minor league deal. The left-hander spent the 2016 split between the Philadelphia Phillies and Los Angeles Angels organizations, pitching in a total of 37 games.

It wasn’t the 27-year-old’s finest season in the majors, as he finished with a 5.89 ERA over 70.1 innings. He made two starts for the Angeles before moving on to the Phillies, and didn’t fare any better in that role than he did as a reliever.

Oberholtzer was especially punished by home runs and walks. His HR/9 was up to 2.3 from an average 0.9 over the last three seasons, and his WHIP was 1.621. His BB/9 was 3.7 after he finished 2014 with a 1.8 mark as a starter with Houston that season.

In the wake of the Boston Red Sox trading for Chris Sale, there wasn’t a lot of positive reaction to the signing in the Twitterverse, but it’s all about perspective with this depth move.

Every club needs as much pitching depth as they can get their hands on, and Oberholtzer offers the ability to start, or pitch out of the bullpen. Granted, he didn’t have a strong season last year, but left-handed pitching depth on a minor league deal is rarely a bad investment. The former Atlanta Braves’ draft pick started his career with the Houston Astros, and has flashed some potential in the past.

While he may not satisfy the free agent cravings of Jays’ fans, Oberholzer is a decent investment on a minor league deal.

The Jays need to bring in some sort of starting pitching depth, despite a solid starting 5 to open the 2017 season. They had a ridiculous amount of luck with the health of their starters, but it’s not a safe play to expect that to happen again.

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The Jays also need left-handed depth in the bullpen, as they only have Aaron Loup, Chad Girodo and Matt Dermody to compete for the role at the moment. They are expected to look for additional depth, but Oberholtzer has far more experience than any of the above, so at least he has that going for him.

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