Yet more news to talk about in Blue Jays-land! The Jays claimed yet another player, outfielder Andy Dirks, off of waivers, this time from the Detroit Tigers.
Dirks, a 2008 eighth-rounder, has two years and 139 days of major league service under his belt and earned $1.63 million last year and he’s arbitration eligible this year but still under team control until after the 2018 season. A left-handed hitting left fielder, Dirks has played in parts of three major league seasons with his best results coming in 88 games in 2012 in which he hit .322/.370/.487. In 2013, playing in 131 games, Dirks hit only .256/.323/.363 with nine home runs and 16 doubles in 484 plate appearances. He had back surgery last march and missed the whole season, playing in a combined 14 minor league games with the Tigers’ Class-A, High-A and Triple-A teams.
Over his career, Dirks, 28, has hit lefties and righties about equally well with a 30-point difference in OPS meaning that he’s not just a platoon option for the Jays. It looks like the Jays are hedging their bets in case Melky Cabrera doesn’t come back to Toronto. Speculation is that it will take a long-term deal in the neighbourhood of $100 million to land Cabrera and Dirks gives the Jays a player with major league experience (and an injury history) who would be a very good fourth outfielder and a serviceable third one for left field.
In other news, the Blue Jays signed Canadian lefty Jeff Francis to a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training. The 33-year-old has appeared in the majors every year since 2004 (except for 2009) and has a 4.95 lifetime ERA after a solid start to his career in Colorado (with suitably inflated numbers). Last year, Francies made appearances with three teams (Cincinnati, Oakland and the Yankees) and had a 5.85 ERA over 20 innings with some very respectable peripherals including a 4.18 FIP and 1.07 WHIP.
A soft-tossing lefty, Francis averaged 86.8 mph on his sinker (according to PITCHf/x) a curve and a change.
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