After a long winter that saw the lockout finally end Thursday evening, the Toronto Blue Jays have their first post-lockout transaction on the board. Per Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi, the Blue Jays have agreed to a Major League deal with left-hander Andrew Vasquez.
A 32nd round draft pick of the Minnesota Twins back in 2015, Vasquez only has a handful of games at the Major League since 2018. Through 12 relief appearances, the southpaw has posted an 8.10 ERA through 6.2 innings of work with 10 strikeouts. Spending the majority of last season in AAA with both the Twins and Los Angeles Dodgers organizations, the California product pitched to a 3.54 ERA through 39 appearances while amassing a 14.7 K/9, striking out 79 batters through 48.1 innings of work. He did make two appearances for the Dodgers in late 2021, allowing one hit through 1.2 innings while striking out three.
As per Baseball Savant, Vasquez’s primary offering is his curveball, which has a pretty strong horizontal break to the tune of 16 inches and out of the 27 pitches he threw last year, 26 of them were breaking balls. Vasquez also has a sinker in his arsenal and did throw a changeup back in 2019 but did not throw any at the Major League level last season. The southpaw is also a groundball type of pitcher, with 64.7% of batted balls being grounders and he has yet to surrender a home run at the highest level.
The Blue Jays are officially on the board post-lockout, signing left-handed reliever Andrew Vasquez to a Major League contract last evening.
While the sample size is small at the big leagues, Vasquez appears to be a low-risk option that will add some depth to the bullpen and force some competition for fellow southpaws in the relief corps. In the mix for Opening Day pitching from the left-side are Tim Mayza (considered a lock as of right now), Tayler Saucedo, Kirby Snead, and Ryan Borucki, who enters this season out of minor league options. Vasquez joins the Jays with one minor league option left but while the terms of the deal are not known at this time, the contract is apparently a Major League deal and therefore will be occupying a spot on the 40-man roster.
It is not the flashiest signing of the bunch last evening, with Clayton Kershaw and Carlos Rodon now off the board and signs pointing to Freddie Freeman taking his talents to California, but signing Vasquez is an additional arm in the bullpen that has success at the AAA level when it comes to strikeouts and keeping balls on the ground.
This will also hopefully be the beginning of the impending floodgates that will be the Blue Jays transactions before Opening Day rolls around on April 8th.