The Toronto Blue Jays added depth to their starting rotation on Monday, signing right-hander Lucas Harrell to a minor league contract that includes an invite to spring training.
The Toronto Blue Jays led the American League with a 3.64 ERA last season, but, let’s not forget, the team was fortunate to get 152 starts from their starting five of J.A. Happ, Marco Estrada, Aaron Sanchez, Marcus Stroman and R.A. Dickey.
With the exception of Dickey, who was replaced with Francisco Liriano, the AL’s top rotation will be back this season. However, expecting this group to produce similar results to last season is asking for a lot. Don’t get me wrong, this rotation could once again be lights out this season, but if they aren’t, or if injuries happen, the Jays are adding options to prepare themselves.
More from Tip of the Tower
- Cam Phillips making his mark on Toronto Argonauts offence
- Toronto Argonauts: 4 storylines ahead of matchup against Redblacks
- Federico Bernardeschi ready for new challenge with Toronto FC
- Toronto Argonauts overcome Roughriders in entertaining Touchdown Atlantic
- Buffalo Bills: Von Miller drawing inspiration from Bruce Smith
Harrell, the Blue Jays most recent signing, will join Mike Bolsinger, Glenn Sparkman, Gavin Floyd, Brett Oberholtzer and T.J. House as depth options Toronto can potentially turn too if needed. The 31-year-old right-hander will likely end up with triple-A Buffalo, but his 448.2 innings in the majors makes him an interesting spot start candidate.
The veteran righty split last season between three teams and only started nine games before his season ended early because of a right groin strain. He started the year out in the Detroit Tigers’ minor league system and eventually signed a minor league deal with the Atlanta Braves. Harrell worked his way up to the Braves’ rotation and posted a strong July. The Texas Rangers took interest and acquired Harrell from the Braves. He would then go on to make four starts for the Rangers before suffering a groin strain that ended his season.
Much like his pitching repertoire, which is mostly predicated on off-speed pitches, Harrell’s stats last season weren’t impressive. He posted a 4.21 ERA with 36 strikeouts and 24 walks In 47 total innings with the Braves and Rangers. His fastball averaged 91.5 mph, so you can see why his off-speed pitches are important.
Overall, the former fourth-round pick will likely be a depth piece that might contribute a few starts this season, but I wouldn’t expect anything more than that. In all likelihood, he’ll spend the majority of his season in Buffalo.
What do you think of the Toronto Blue Jays signing Lucas Harrell? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below.