Blue Jays sign eight-year veteran to minor league contract as much-needed depth

With Jordan Romano and Erik Swanson being Opening Day question marks, the Blue Jays needed to make a move to shore up their depth.

Jun 5, 2023; Miami, Florida, USA; Kansas City Royals relief pitcher Mike Mayers (21) throws a pitch
Jun 5, 2023; Miami, Florida, USA; Kansas City Royals relief pitcher Mike Mayers (21) throws a pitch / Rich Storry-USA TODAY Sports

Uncertainty is in the air down in Dunedin, Florida where the Toronto Blue Jays spend their spring training period.

The pitching staff has been ravaged by injuries lately. While none of them are of the severe variety, the Jays are currently looking at Kevin Gausman, Alek Manoah, Jordan Romano and Erik Swanson as pitchers that are question marks to make the Opening Day roster. Each of them are dealing with relatively minor ailments but they could be just enough to cause these pitchers to miss time.

On Tuesday, the Blue Jays took to social media (X link) to announce that right-hander Mike Mayers - no, not Michael Myers or even Mike Myers, has been signed to a minor league contract. He will be in big league camp and will fight for a spot in a bullpen that may have two openings coming up soon here.

Mayers, 32, has parts of eight seasons in the big leagues under his belt. However, he has only been a consistent presence in a major league bullpen in two of those years. Most recently, he was a member of the Royals, making six appearances (two starts) and posting a 6.15 ERA in just over 26 innings.

An ERA over 6.00 is always concerning, but the sample size is worth noting. Mayers had a 1.35 ERA through his first three outings, inclduing back-to-back gems in which he went a total of 10.2 innings while allowing just one run and striking out 11. Mayers has been prone to blow-up outings over the years, though, and his overall numbers were dramatically dragged down by three straight rough outings to end his season.

In 2021 as a member of the Angels, Mayers made a career-high 72 appearances and had a respectable 117 ERA+. He isn't much of a strikeout pitcher, but he punched out over 10 batters per nine innings in that season.

Ultimately, Mayers is not likely going to be much more than high-minors depth for the Blue Jays. He's got experience as a starter, a long reliever and a middle reliever across multiple levels. The current injury question marks surrounding Romano and Swanson leave the door open a bit for someone like Mayers to snag an Opening Day roster spot, but he's going to be depth and not much more, at least to start the year.