The Blue Jays announced today that they’ve claimed switch-pitcher Pat Venditte off waivers from the Athletics. To clear a spot on the 40-man roster, Darwin Barney has been designated for assignment. Venditte isn’t eligible to pitch in the postseason with Toronto.
As an ambidextrous pitcher, the 30-year-old Venditte grabbed quite a few headlines in Oakland when he made his big league debut earlier this season. Venditte logged 28 2/3 innings with the A’s in the Majors, totaling a 4.40 ERA with 7.2 K/9, 3.8 BB/9 and a 32.9 percent ground-ball rate. Venditte was hit hard by right-handed hitters — particularly in the few instances where he had to face them as a left-handed pitcher. However, he excelled in lefty-lefty matchups, limiting opponents to a .116/.188/.256 batting line in such situations.
Formerly a 20th-round pick by the Yankees in 2008, Venditte also grinded his way through eight minor league seasons before emerging at the Major League level in Oakland this year. His minor league track record is exceptional, as he’s worked to a 2.39 ERA, averaging 10.0 K/9 against 2.5 BB/9 along the way. Venditte doesn’t throw particularly hard, averaging just 84.6 mph and sitting in the mid-80s from each side. However, that hasn’t limited his effectiveness in the minors, and the Blue Jays will hope that he can be a contributor for him in future seasons. If nothing else, he’s a nice depth piece for a team that is currently slated to lose LaTroy Hawkins and Mark Lowe to free agency.
The 29-year-old Barney, a fixture in the Cubs’ infield from 2010-14, came to the Blue Jays by way of trade from the Dodgers in September. Toronto had a need at second base with Devon Travis again sidelined by injuries, and Barney was picked up to fill that role despite the fact that being acquired after Sept. 1 made him ineligible for the postseason. Barney spent most of the season in Triple-A with the Dodgers, where he batted .277/.325/.354. While those numbers don’t exactly leap off the page, Barney’s calling card has long been his defense at second base, where he won a Gold Glove in 2012. He also has experience at shortstop and third base.