The Blue Jays have re-signed right-hander A.J. Cole to a minor league contract, Bob Nightengale of USA Today reports. Cole will earn a $1MM salary if he makes their roster and could rake in another $200K in incentives. His deal includes a May 15 opt-out date, per Shi Davidi of Sportsnet.
Cole spent last season as a member of the Blue Jays, with whom he turned in a 3.09 ERA in 23 1/3 innings, but the team non-tendered him in lieu of bringing him back on a projected $800K to $1.1MM salary. Shiny ERA aside, Cole didn’t post especially impressive strikeout/walk stats, as the 29-year-old finished with a 21.1 percent K rate against a 9.5 percent BB rate. Cole did, however, have a terrific season by Statcast’s standards. For instance, the .239 expected weighted on-base average he yielded ranked in the league’s 95th percentile.
If Cole does reach the majors again in 2021, it’ll be his seventh straight year appearing in the bigs. The former National, Yankee and Indian owns a 4.65 ERA with a 23 percent strikeout rate and a 9.3 percent walk rate in 197 1/3 innings.