The Toronto Blue Jays have signed right-handed pitcher Gavin Floyd to a minor-league contract including an invitation to spring training, according to multiple reports.
Floyd signed with the Blue Jays in early 2016 on a one-year, $1 million guaranteed contract and was initially viewed as competition for Aaron Sanchez at the back end of the starting rotation. Sanchez soon took that job and ran with it, but Floyd stuck on the 25-man roster as a middle reliever until a shoulder injury ended his season in late June.
The bullpen role brought mixed results for Floyd, who pitched to a 4.06 ERA over 31.0 innings with an encouraging 8.7 strikeouts and 2.3 walks per nine innings.
Floyd also experienced a slight bump in his velocity as a reliever, something that the Blue Jays could continue to benefit from if he is given a full spring to train for that specific role. His average fastball velocities increased by at least 1.0 MPH, and at 33, that could be the key to Floyd revitalising his career.
Health will also be a prominent variable with Floyd, which is why he’s currently on a minor-league deal instead of the guaranteed contract he signed last season. His past four seasons (2013-2016) have all been shortened by injury.
Toronto may be an ideal landing spot for relievers like Floyd, however, given the lack of certainty in their current bullpen picture.
Roberto Osuna and Jason Grilli are entrenched at the back end while Joe Biagini’s shift to the starting rotation may need to wait one more season. The Blue Jays have built a long list of competition — Ryan Tepera, Bo Schultz, Danny Barnes, Chad Girodo, Matt Dermody, and many others — but the number of available jobs creates a real opportunity for any arms in spring.