Last Thursday, the Blue Jays signed Claudio Vargas to a minor league deal with an invitation to Spring Training. Vargas, 34, had retired in 2011 after spending eight years in the majors as both a starter and reliever with the Expos, Nationals, Mets, Dodgers and Brewers. Over those eight seasons, Vargas compiled a 48-40 record and a 4.83 ERA.
Vargas is expected to add much needed minor league pitching depth should any members of the Jays rotation be sidelined with an injury. Beyond youngster Chad Jenkins, the major-league-ready arms are sparse at the triple-A level. Toronto’s system boast some exciting arms, but most are at the single-A level in their development. Look for the Jays to make similar moves, acquiring pitchers on minor league deals with past major league experience that have the ability to start.
We all know what the rotation went through last season and the Jays know that even though the front five in the rotation look solid (Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, Brandon Morrow, Ricky Romero, and J.A. Happ), the weakness in the system is rotation depth at the triple-A level.