SATURDAY, 12:17PM: The move is official, as per a Blue Jays press release.
SATURDAY, 11:59AM: Floyd’s deal with the Jays is a Major League contract, Gideon Turk of Blue Jays Plus was first to report (via Twitter). Floyd will earn a $1MM base salary and can get up to $1MM in incentives based on how many days he spends in the 25-man roster. He’ll also receive $500K for 90 days on the roster, $250K for 120 days and another $250K for 140 days, per Jon Heyman (Twitter links).
THURSDAY: Right-hander Gavin Floyd “appears headed for [a] deal with [the] Blue Jays,” Jon Heyman reports (on Twitter). SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo tweets that the Moye Sports client is indeed in agreement with the Jays, pending a physical.
Floyd, who turned 33 just last week, would serve as a back-of-the-rotation option for the Blue Jays, though it’s tough to imagine he’d be promised a spot in the starting five after throwing just 92 Major League innings across the past three seasons. The longtime White Sox righty underwent Tommy John surgery early in the 2013 season and returned with a flourish with the Braves in 2014 (2.65 ERA in 54 1/3 innings) before missing the remainder of the season due to a fractured olecranon bone in his right elbow. Somewhat astoundingly, Floyd suffered the exact same injury in Spring Training with the Indians last year. He was thought to be lost for the season, although he did return to toss 13 1/3 effective innings of relief late in the year. Given the lengthy list of recent injuries, Floyd seemed like a candidate for a minor league deal, though details on his agreement with Toronto remain unclear.
At his best, Floyd has proven to be a highly capable mid-rotation arm, although it’s obviously been quite some time since he was healthy enough to display that over the course of a full season. Nevertheless, from 2008-12, Floyd averaged 190 innings of 4.12 ERA ball with 7.2 K/9, 2.8 BB/9 and a 45.1 percent ground-ball rate. When adjusting for Floyd’s hitter-friendly home park and the heightened offensive output league-wide during that period, Floyd was about eight percent better than the league-average pitcher in terms of both ERA and FIP.
Clearly, president of baseball operations Mark Shapiro and general manager Ross Atkins, both former executives with the Indians, think highly of Floyd, as this is the second time he’s signed with a team under that duo’s leadership. Floyd had reportedly drawn interest from the division-rival Orioles on a minor league pact earlier this offseason and had also been speculatively mentioned as a fit for the Rangers, among other clubs.
Floyd will look to crack a rotation that currently has Marcus Stroman, R.A. Dickey, Marco Estrada and J.A. Happ locked in place. Toronto has no shortage of candidates for the fifth spot, with Drew Hutchison, Jesse Chavez and Aaron Sanchez representing rotation options on the 40-man roster (to say nothing of non-roster invitees like Scott Diamond, Roberto Hernandez, Wade LeBlanc and Brad Penny as potential depth pieces to stash at Triple-A).