The Blue Jays are signing reliever Andrew Vasquez to a major league contract, reports Shi Davidi of Sportsnet (on Twitter). The southpaw has made twelve big league appearances spread across three seasons, including two outings with the Dodgers late last year.
It’s a bit of a surprise to see Vasquez land a guaranteed 40-man roster spot given his limited MLB track record. He’s tossed just 6 2/3 career innings at the highest level, five of them coming with the 2018 Twins. Yet the 28-year-old impressed a couple teams with a huge showing in Triple-A last season. Vasquez spent the bulk of the season with the Twins’ top affiliate in St. Paul, working to a 3.61 ERA over 42 2/3 innings. More importantly, he struck out an elite 37.4% of batters faced at that level.
The Dodgers were impressed enough with Vasquez’s form to acquire him late on the night of August 31. (Vasquez, who hadn’t been on the Twins’ 40-man roster all season, was eligible to be moved after the MLB trade deadline). That was just before the deadline for teams to add players to their organization in order for them to be eligible for the postseason roster, and L.A. quickly selected the UC Santa Barbara product onto their 40-man roster. They didn’t wind up activating him for any playoff contests, though, and Los Angeles non-tendered him last November.
In his two-game MLB cameo last season, Vasquez threw almost exclusively low-80s curveballs (26 curves, one sinker). He probably won’t continue with an approach quite so extreme over a larger body of work, but it seems the Jays’ front office is intrigued by that bread-and-butter offering. Tim Mayza, Ryan Borucki, Kirby Snead and Tayler Saucedo are among the left-handed bullpen options already on the Toronto 40-man roster. Vasquez still has a minor league option year remaining, though, so the Jays can shuttle him between Toronto and Triple-A Buffalo next season if he sticks on their 40-man all year.