So the Blue Jays made their move to add outfield depth a day after non-tendering two of their outfielders. No, it wasn’t a big-league left fielder that they added but the club gave a minor league deal (with an invitation to big league spring training) to 27-year-old center fielder Ezequiel Carrera.
While Carrera doesn’t have much of a big league resume (176 games over four years with Cleveland, Philadelphia and Detroit), he does have quite a lot going for him including great defense and great speed. Carrera has 25 big league stolen bases and has been caught just seven times and he stole 50 bags last season combined between Toledo and Detroit.
Last season, Carrera had his best year in the minors, hitting .307/.387/.422 with the Triple-A Toledo Mud Hens. That .809 OPS (with 43 stolen bases marked career highs at that level and he also managed some decent extra-base pop with 15 doubles, five triples and six home runs (adding four doubles and a triple in 73 plate appearances with Detroit). Carrera’s great season last year helped him to mid- and post-season All-Star awards from the International Leagues as well as a Player of the Week award in July.
In many ways, Carrera reminds me of Eugenio Velez, a minor league free agent the Jays signed in 2013. Velez was a speedy, solid hitting minor leaguer with some pop who helped the Bisons tremendously. The Bisons are already excited about the signing of Carrera, tweeting a link to some video of him in action. and just generally filling up their Twitter feed with Carrera-related content.
In short, this is obviously a depth signing but one that has the potential to be a good one for the Jays if other options in the outfield fail to produce. The left-handed hitter is projected by Steamer (on Fangraphs) to produce a 90 wRC+ (although they only expect him to get one major league plate appearance) which is actually higher than the 86 wRC+ that they predict for Anthony Gose. Interestingly, Gose was traded to Detroit and by signing Carrera, they get a guy who could very well outproduce him (given enough of a chance) AND they got Devon Travis. Sounds like a win-win to me.
If you like us here,“like” us on Facebook!
Who are these players? Find out in The 2014 Toronto Blue Jays Minor League Handbook, now available as an ebook at Smashwords.com for $7.99 US. You can purchase and preview the book at our Smashwords.com page!
The All-Star Break Supplement to the Minor League Handbook is also available at Smashwords.com for only $2 US! Get an update on how your favourite players have been doing this season as well as a report on the 2014 draft!
All photos are copyright Blue Jays from Away (2013-2014) and may not be used without permission.