The Blue Jays have designated left-hander Brett Oberholtzer for assignment in order to clear a spot on the roster for newly acquired outfielder Nori Aoki, reports Shi Davidi of Sportsnet (on Twitter).
Oberholtzer had his contract selected to the Major League roster just yesterday and will lose that 40-man spot before making even a single appearance with the Blue Jays’ big league club. The 28-year-old inked a minor league pact with Toronto this winter on the heels of a down season split between the Phillies and Angels. In 94 1/3 innings with the Jays’ Triple-A affiliate in Buffalo, Oberholtzer worked to a 4.48 ERA with 5.6 K/9, 3.2 BB/9 and a 45 percent ground-ball rate.
From 2013-15, Oberholtzer enjoyed a solid run with the Astros, tossing 253 2/3 innings with a 3.94 ERA, 5.9 K/9 and 2.1 BB/9 while working almost exclusively as a starter. He went to Philadelphia as part of the December 2015 Ken Giles trade in the hopes that he could either work as a long man out of the bullpen or perhaps offer some stability to a young rotation. However, in 26 relief appearances with the Phils, Oberholtzer was tagged for 58 hits, including 11 homers, in 50 1/3 innings. His troubles with the long ball continued after joining the Angels later that season, as he served up seven homers in just 20 frames with the Halos.
While he posted a poor 5.89 ERA on the season as a whole, Oberholtzer isn’t far removed from contributing some solid innings at the big league level and hasn’t had any issues with homers in Triple-A this year (0.48 HR/9). He’s already been outrighted in the past, so if the Blue Jays go that route, he’d have the opportunity to reject his assignment and latch on as depth piece in another organization of his choosing.