The search for organizational depth continued today; the Blue Jays have signed corner infielder Andy LaRoche to a minor league deal with an invitation to Spring Training.
LaRoche, 29, spent last season between triple-A splitting time between the Indians and Red Sox organizations. He posted a .251 avg, .335 obp, .422 slg batting line, with 20 doubles, 12 homers and 41 RBIs. He last played in the Majors in 2011, batting .247 with a .654 OPS in 40 games for the A’s.
LaRoche does have Major League experience; he has totalled 403 games with the Dodgers, Pirates and A’s over parts of five seasons. He was the Pirates everyday third baseman in 2009, posting a .258 avg, .330 obp, .401 slg batting line with 12 homers and 64 RBIs in 150 games. He also has the ability to play 1B.
The right-handed hitter is a career .226 hitter in the Majors, with a notably better minor league numbers. He holds a .285 avg, .372 obp, .492 slg batting line in eight Minor League seasons.
I see this move as insurance on aging Mark DeRosa, whom the Jays signed to fill the 25th bench spot on the MLB roster. If DeRosa gets hurt, look for LaRoche to get the call and possibly platoon with Adam Lind if Lind struggles against lefty pitching. It’s no secret the Jays want a right handed bat that can spell Lind if he struggles vs. tough southpaws. I’ve said it before, I thought Russ Canzler was the perfect fit. However, DeRosa with LaRoche as back up isn’t too shabby for the 25th spot on the roster.
You can follow me on twitter @IHRTBJs
The Blue Jays claimed right-hander Chad Beck off of waivers from the Pirates. The 27-year-old had been designated for assignment on December 26th.
Beck spent the 2012 season in the Blue Jays’ organization, appearing in 14 games at the MLB level. The Pirates had claimed him off of waivers from Toronto on October 25th. Beck posted a 6.32 ERA with 5.2 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 in 15 2/3 innings with Toronto this past season. He spent the majority of the year at Triple-A Las Vegas, where he posted a 1.31 ERA with 4.5 K/9 and 2.4 BB/9 in 48 innings out of the bullpen.
Perhaps this is the reason that the Jays took Russ Canzler off their 40-man roster (and lost him to the Indians on waivers, who just lost him to the Yankees on waivers). The Jays know what they are getting with Beck. He provides solid right handed bullpen depth. His not so stellar numbers at the MLB level last season should be better over a longer period of time and the Jays know it. It’s not easy posting a 1.31 ERA at the hitter friendly Pacific Cost League in triple-A where Beck spent the majority of last season.
Personally, I’d rather have Canzler. But perhaps it’s easier to find a right handed bench bat then a solid bullpen depth righty.
Russ Canzler’s days as a Blue Jay were short lived. MLB.com has reported that the Indians have re-claimed Canzler off waivers from the Jays after Toronto tried to sneak him through waivers and designated him to triple-A to free up room on the 40-man roster.
The Blue Jays had claimed Canzler from Cleveland on December 21st, not long after the Indians designated him for assignment.
Canzler appeared in 26 games for the Indians this past season. The 26-year-old posted a .269 avg, .299 obp, .398 slg batting line in 97 MLB plate appearances while playing first base and left field.
The right handed batting and throwing Canzler has the ability to play both corner infield and outfield spots and was thought to have an opportunity to compete for the final opening on Toronto’s bench next year. Canzler was also thought to have the opportunity to DH vs. lefties if Adam Lind struggles vs. southpaw pitching. He spent most of last season at triple-A, where he posted a .265 avg, .328 obp, .487 slg batting line with 22 home runs and 36 doubles in 539 plate appearances.
I’m a bit surprised by this move. Canzler seemed like a nice fit to round out the 40-man roster and take the final bench spot. He bats right, has power, and can play four positions. But if Toronto was willing to expose him to waivers to make room on the 40-man, there might be another transaction in the near future.
The Toronto Blue Jays continued their busy waiver claim off season by picking up Russ Canzler, 26, who had been designated for assignment earlier this week by the Indians.
The right handed batting and throwing Canzler appeared in 26 games with the Indians last season and hit .269 with three homers and 11 RBIs. He has the ability to play both corner infield and outfield spots and might have an opportunity to compete for the final opening on Toronto’s bench next year. Canzler may also have the opportunity to DH vs. lefties if Adam Lind struggles vs. southpaw pitching. He spent most of last season at triple-A, where he posted a .265 avg, .328 obp, .487 slg batting line with 22 home runs and 36 doubles in 539 plate appearances.
To make room on the 40-man roster, the Jays designated RHP Mickey Storey to triple-A. Storey, 26, showed promising stuff with the Astros last season posting a 3.86 ERA with 10.1 K/9 and 3.0 BB/9 in 30.1 innings at the MLB level. He also spent considerable time at triple-A in 2012, posting a 3.05 ERA with 10.0 K/9 and 1.9 BB/9 in 65 innings.
I wouldn’t be surprised to see Storey’s waiver claim world continue (he’s gone from the Astros, to the Yankees, to the Astros, to the Jays). With the numbers he showed last season, I figure someone will make a claim and keep him on their 40-man.
However, with a crowded Jays bullpen, especially for righties, picking up Canzler seems like the right move. He most likely won’t hit better than .260ish, but he does have extra base power and could platoon with Lind if needed. Also, Canzler’s ability to play 1B, 3B, LF or RF will give him an opportunity to find at bats. I suspect if there are no more moves prior to the beginning of spring training, Canzler is the favourite to win the final bench spot on the Jays 25-man MLB squad.