The Toronto Blue Jays made a couple of roster moves on Monday, adding catching depth and possibly looking for more
The Toronto Blue Jays have added some catching depth to their organization. Just a couple of days after Jays From the Couch told you that A.J. Jimenez was the answer as Russell Martin‘s backup, but that the club could be looking for more upper level depth to safeguard against injury, they’ve claimed 27 yr old catcher, Juan Graterol (pronounced grad-er-all) from the Angels.
The 6’1″ Venezuelan played in 9 games at the big league level for the Angels last season, where he picked up a couple of doubles ans 3 RBI. He has bounced up and down the Royals and Yankees system before being claimed by the Angels. For his minor league career, he has slashed .270/.320/.335. He doesn’t hit for much power as he has 13 HR in his 11 minor league seasons. One will also note that he has not struck out a lot in his career. In 2014, for AAA Omaha, he threw out 43% of base runners and 39% in AA that season. Last year in AAA Salt Lake, he threw out 32%. Oh, and he also pitched an inning in 2011, but that doesn’t mean anything.
At this stage in the season, adding catching depth is going to be rather important for the Blue Jays. Even if Jimenez is the one they see as being the backup backstop, they will need to add depth to fill out the position behind him. To make room for him on the 40 man roster, the Blue Jays had to part with some pitching.
— Hazel Mae (@thehazelmae) January 23, 2017
Back in November, the Blue Jays claimed the 29 yr old Campos off waivers from the Padres. The 6’2″ righty (also from Venezuela) didn’t look to figure much into the plans of the Blue Jays, even though their bullpen is a work in progress. In 22 innings with the Padres in 2016, Campos threw to a 5.73 ERA and a 4.78 FIP. Surrendering walks at 14.3% and HR/9 at 1.23 is not exactly encouraging, if you’re looking at potentially bringing him into a bullpen role at Rogers Centre.
On the one hand, it is odd to see the Blue Jays part ways with pitching depth, but on the other hand, the need to add catching depth is there. In fact, even after making this move, there is word that the Blue Jays could be eyeing even more depth and challenging our potential for spelling. According to Jerry Crasnick of ESPN, the Blue Jays are showing interest in Jarrod Saltalamacchia
The #BlueJays have expressed an interest in free agent Jarrod Saltalamacchia. Could use a backup for Russell Martin.
— Jerry Crasnick (@jcrasnick) January 23, 2017
He was an option mentioned in our backup catching options and very well could be an interesting option for the club. The 31 yr old switch hitter played in 92 games for the Tigers last season where he was worth -3 DRS behind the dish. Offensively, he slashed .171/.284/.346, while striking out at a rate of 35.6%! Adding a veteran bat behind Martin could make sense for a club looking to compete.
Of course, pulling the trigger on this deal would force them into dealing with a decision on Jimenez, who is out of options. They would have to be OK with the risk of losing him on waivers. Maybe they could be OK with that if they believe that the rest of their depth, including Mike Ohlman, Alex Monsalve, or even Reese McGuire could be enough. But, then the question remains as to whether Jimenez couldn’t put up similar numbers to Salty anyway. But, hey! If minor league deals are the order of the day, then it wouldn’t really matter much, in the end.
And, the elephant in the room is just how healthy Martin can be for the upcoming season. The same can be said for Jimenez. Should Martin miss a significant amount of time in 2017, the Blue Jays will need all the help they can get.
For some reason- perhaps in the flurry of excitement over the above moves, this gem was overlooked:
— John Lott (@LottOnBaseball) January 23, 2017
Gregorio Petit is an infielder with a light bat. At first glance, he might be a guy who could challenge Ryan Goins for his bench spot. Though, his bat represents something similar to Goins, except from the right side. His career sub-.300 OBP leaves much to be desired. So, it is not exactly like he pushes Goins out of the way…at least, not yet.
Instead, he will come into Spring Training with his invitation and hope for the best. For the Blue Jays, though, they also need to think about filling out a Buffalo Bisons roster that currently has no infielders listed.
*Fetaured Image Credit: C Stem- JFtC
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Shaun Doyle is a long time Blue Jays fan and writer! He decided to put those things together and create Jays From the Couch. Shaun is the host of Jays From the Couch Radio, which is highly ranked in iTunes, and he has appeared on TV and radio spots.