The Toronto Blue Jays have reportedly signed left-handed relief pitcher Jeff Beliveau to a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training.
Beliveau joins T.J. House and Brett Oberholtzer as recent minor-league lefties signed by the Blue Jays, and while those two have the potential to provide starting rotation depth, Beliveau primarily profiles as a bullpen arm with the potential to specialize.
The 29-year-old spent the 2016 season re-establishing himself in the minor leagues after missing nearly all of 2015 recovering from surgery for a torn shoulder labrum.
Prior to that, in 2014, Beliveau was quietly emerging as a valuable bullpen piece for the Tampa Bay Rays as he pitched 24 innings over 30 appearances with a 2.62 ERA. Between the triple-A and MLB levels that season, Beliveau held left-handed hitters to a .115 average and .374 OPS.
Late that season, Beliveau recorded his first career save against the Blue Jays:
At the advanced-A and double-A levels this past season, Beliveau did put up some encouraging numbers despite facing younger and less experienced hitters. Instead of being limited to situational work, Beliveau stretched his 31 outings to 49.2 innings with an ERA of 2.54. He again pitched lefties very well, and could make a push this spring in that role.
Beliveau will throw a fastball that relies more on movement than velocity, coming in around 89-90 MPH, which he complements with a curveball and changeup.
Toronto’s roster currently holds Aaron Loup, Chad Girodo, and Matt Dermody as the only strict relievers from the left side with any level of MLB experience. Loup is due to bounce back and could recapture his old left-on-left form, but minor-league competition could continue to roll in as the Blue Jays look to rebuild a bullpen that still has few certainties outside of Roberto Osuna in the closer’s role and the veteran Jason Grilli setting him up.