The Toronto Blue Jays are re-signing Casey Lawrence to a minor league contract.
Lawrence, 35, is now going to be entering the Blue Jays system for a fourth stint.
After not being selected in the 2010 MLB Draft, Lawrence became an undrafted free agent, later signing with the Blue Jays. His signing bonus for the contract? A plane ticket to Dunedin, where he would be playing in the minor leagues.
After spending the next seven seasons in the minor leagues, Lawrence finally broke into the big leagues with the Blue Jays in April of 2017.
The beginning of his big league career was one to forget, as he made four appearances for the Jays that year, going 0-3 with an 8.78 ERA in 13+ innings. He allowed 13 earned runs in this stretch, walking 11 batters and striking out just seven.
Just a few days after his big league debut, he was designated for assignment and then claimed off of waivers by the Seattle Mariners, who he remained with through the end of the 2018 season.
After failing to find any more success in America, Lawrence received the unique opportunity to play overseas in Japan's Nippon Professional Baseball league, or NPB, for the Hiroshima Toyo Carp.
In 2019, Lawrence made a total of 22 appeparances for the Carp, going 4-8 with a 4.80 ERA. He struck out 76 batters in 110+ innings while walking just 19.
After two separate minor league contracts from the Twins (in which he made no actual appearances for the organization), Lawrence once again became a free agent at the conclusion of the 2020 season.
On March 30th, 2021, Lawrence once again signed a contract in a league that was not Major League Baseball. This time, he was joining the York Revolution of the Atlantic League of Professional Baseball, or ALPB. However, he was released before the season even began and was brought back aboard by the Toronto Blue Jays.
After an admirable season in 2021 in which he made 25 appearances (14 starts) for both Double-A New Hampshire and Triple-A Buffalo, he was released only to sign a minor league contract for the 2022 season.
Last year not only saw him make his return to a big league mound (albeit not a good return), but saw him dominate the minor leagues. Sure, he made seven appearances out of the big league bullpen for the Jays but saw his ERA balloon all the way up to 7.50 after allowing 15 earned runs in 18 innings. But it's his minor league numbers that warranted yet another contract for the Pennsylvania native.
In 23 starts for Triple-A Buffalo last year, Lawrence went 9-5 with a sparkling 2.79 ERA. He still had some issues with allowing home runs (1.3 HR/9) but he brought his walks way down and continued to strike guys out at a high rate. Now that all is said and done, Lawrence struck out 106 batters in 126 innings while walking just 17.
At this point, Lawrence is not expected to be a contributor to the big league club. He is likely going to be minor league depth, but there is nothing wrong with that being his role. The Jays' system has very little veteran experience in the minors so he will be a guy that can fill a leadership role for the youngsters in Triple-A.