Veteran left-hander Randy Choate will join the Blue Jays on a minor league deal with an invite to big league camp, reports WFAN’s Sweeny Murti (via Twitter). The 40-year-old lefty specialist is represented by ACES.
Choate will compete for a job in a Blue Jays bullpen that is currently dealing with an injury to left-hander Aaron Loup. Choate has spent the past three seasons pitching for the Cardinals, limiting left-handed batters to a paltry .176/.270/.247 batting line in that time. Conversely, right-handers have roughed him up, slashing .333/.395/.416 in that same three-year stretch. Choate is among the most highly specialized relievers in baseball, as evidenced by the fact that the Cardinals allowed him to face just 23 right-handed batters over the life of the entire 2015 season (as opposed to 94 lefties). The market for Choate was fairly quiet for much of the offseason, though he’s known to have drawn some interest from the Astros, as well.
Brett Cecil figures to serve as the primary left-handed option in the Toronto bullpen, but there’s room for Choate to make the club, especially if Loup’s flexor strain in his left forearm proves to be more serious than currently anticipated. Ambidextrous pitcher Pat Venditte represents another option that is currently on the 40-man roster, and the Jays also have veteran lefties Wade LeBlanc and Scott Diamond in camp as non-roster invitees.