The Blue Jays have agreed to a minor league deal with veteran left-hander Marc Rzepczynski, manager Charlie Montoyo revealed when meeting with reporters Monday morning (Twitter link via Sportsnet’s Arden Zwelling). Rzepczynski still needs to complete his physical, but once he does, the JBA Sports client will head to Major League camp as a non-roster invitee.
Rzepczynski, 34, didn’t pitch in the big leagues in 2019 — the first time since 2008 that he didn’t pitch at least 10 innings in a big league season. Instead, the southpaw spent the year with the Diamondbacks’ Triple-A affiliate, where he pitched to a 5.04 ERA with 36 strikeouts against 28 walks in 44 innings of relief. Suffice it to say, the 2019 campaign wasn’t one of the southpaw’s best.
That said, Rzepczynski has a generally solid track record at the big league level. He’s compiled a 3.89 ERA and near-identical 3.88 FIP in 434 2/3 MLB frames — including a quality run from 2011-17 that saw him log a 3.61 earned run average (3.59 FIP) in 299 1/3 innings. It’s been two years since his last effective campaign at the MLB level, but there’s little harm in taking a speculative spring look to see a rebound appears possible.
Major League Baseball’s recent rule changes — the three-batter minimum for pitches, specifically — won’t do any favors for the man perhaps more commonly known as “Scrabble.” Rzepczynski has generally been used in a specialized left-on-left role throughout his career. Lefty hitters have mustered only a dismal .227/.296/.305 slash against him in 857 trips to the plate, but righties have had far less difficulty, as evidenced by a .280/.385/.437 output in 1035 plate appearances.