The Blue Jays are in agreement with veteran right-hander Al Alburquerque on a minor league contract with an invite to Major League Spring Training, reports Shi Davidi of Sportsnet (Twitter link). Alburquerque is represented by the MVP Sports Group.
The 31-year-old Alburquerque was a fixture in the Tigers’ bullpen from 2011-15, appearing in a total of 241 games and totaling 225 innings of 3.20 ERA ball. Alburquerque has long shown a knack for missing bats thanks in large part to an excellent slider that he throws more often than his fastball (60.2 percent usage rate in his career).
Alburquerque averaged 11.0 K/9 and just 0.6 HR/9 in his run with the Tigers, but his control was also a persistent issue. Alburquerque averaged 5.0 walks per nine innings in that span, hit eight batters and uncorked 20 wild pitches. By the time he reached his fifth season in Detroit, his strikeout rate and swinging-strike rates had dropped off considerably from their peak levels (8.5 K/9, 11.1 swinging-strike rate in ’15).
Since that time, Alburquerque has bounced around the American League, spending time in the Angels, Mariners, Royals and White Sox organizations. (He did not pitch in the Majors with Seattle.) Alburquerque has totaled 20 innings in the Majors across the past two seasons, working to a 2.70 ERA with a less-encouraging 15-to-10 K/BB ratio in that time. He did post a strong 2.87 ERA with 10.3 K/9 against just 2.4 BB/9 in 37 1/3 Triple-A frames last season, though he was ultimately non-tendered by the White Sox in December.