The Blue Jays have agreed to a minor league contract with right-hander Jake Petricka, per Robert Murray (Twitter links). The Platinum Sports client will be in Major League camp on a non-roster invitation to Spring Training. He’d earn $950K if he cracks the MLB roster, Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi adds. TSN’s Scott Mitchell tweets that he can make another $400K by way of performance bonuses.
Petricka, 31, split the 2019 season between the Brewers and Rangers organizations, allowing three runs in eight innings at the MLB level and tossing another 45 2/3 frames of 3.74 ERA ball in a very hitter-friendly Triple-A environment. He’s a familiar face for Jays fans, having spent the bulk of the 2018 season in Toronto’s bullpen. That year, the former White Sox setup man logged another 45 2/3 innings with a 4.53 ERA, 8.1 K/9, 3.2 BB/9, 1.18 HR/9 and a 51.8 percent ground-ball rate.
The veteran Petricka has pitched in parts of seven big league seasons and accumulated more than five years of MLB service time. He’s managed a 3.96 ERA in 231 1/3 total frames and has generally been a ground-ball machine (career 59.4 percent) thanks to a heavy sinker that has averaged 94.8 mph in his career.
Toronto has gone to great lengths to deepen its pitching staff in 2020, but there’s still some competition shaping up for the final few bullpen spots. Waiver claim Anthony Bass and offseason signees Shun Yamaguchi and Rafael Dolis could all be in the mix for high-leverage innings to bridge the gap between a rebuilt rotation and closer Ken Giles, but the other bullpen slots aren’t as clear cut. Whichever of Ryan Borucki or Trent Thornton misses out on the fifth starter’s spot could be in the mix alongside Sam Gaviglio, Thomas Pannone, Jordan Romano and the out-of-options Wilmer Font. At present, Petricka and Ryan Dull are the only veteran relievers who’ll be in camp as non-roster invitees.