Blue Jays add pitching depth by signing former first round pick to minor league deal

The Jays finally make a move with their recent barrage of injuries to their pitchers
Oakland Athletics v Toronto Blue Jays
Oakland Athletics v Toronto Blue Jays / Mark Blinch/GettyImages

With the Toronto Blue Jays taking quite the hit with regards to injuries to their pitchers at both the major and minor league levels, they decided to make a move on Tuesday to help bolster their pitching depth in the organization. The Blue Jays signed former top pitching prospect James Kaprielian to a minor league contract according to the organization's transaction logs.

Kaprielian was selected 16th overall in the first round by the New York Yankees back in the 2015 MLB Draft. However, despite showing great promise and potential, his professional baseball career would be derailed early on due to elbow issues. Kaprielian would miss all but three games during the 2016 season due to a flexor tendon strain in his right elbow, and eventually all of 2017 and 2018 as a result of Tommy John surgery on the same elbow.

During his recovery from surgery in 2017, Kaprielian was ultimately traded in a package by the Yankees that netted them former Cy Young finalist Sonny Gray from the Oakland Athletics. Finally with a clean bill of health, Kaprielian returned to action in 2019 to put together a solid season that saw him move through three minor league levels. 

He would eventually make his MLB debut with the Athletics in 2020 and become a fairly consistent fixture in their starting rotation for the following three seasons. In his four years with Oakland, Kaprielian compiled a 15-20 record with a 4.61 ERA, 1.35 WHIP, 133 walks and 282 strikeouts in 318 innings pitched over 66 games, which included 58 starts. However, he would run into injury troubles once again as his season ended abruptly in August 2023 when he had to undergo surgery to repair the posterior labrum in his right shoulder. To add insult to injury, he was outright to the minors by the Athletics following the end of the season, but Kaprielian ended up electing for free agency instead.