Small Shuffles for the Toronto Blue Jays: Re-sign A.J. Cole, Walker Lockett Goes to Korea

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In this baseball news-starved state we’re in, even small moves made by the Toronto Blue Jays merit an article and at least today we can combine a couple of small moves into one post to get you all up to date. The Blue Jays have re-signed A.J. Cole, who was non-tendered back in November, to a minor league deal while they released reliever Walker Lockett to allow him to sign a deal to play in Korea.

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Cole, 29, was a strong addition to the Blue Jays’ bullpen last year and I was somewhat surprised that the Blue Jays didn’t tender him a contract in the offseason. He had a 3.09 ERA and 1.20 WHIP over 23 1/3 innings, striking out 20 and walking nine in the COVID-shortened 2020 season.

MLB Trade Rumours had him estimated at getting between $800,000 and $1.1 million in arbitration for 2021 and the Jays non-tendered him. The signing comes with a $1 million if he plays in the major leagues and there are, apparently, another $200,000 in incentives he could earn and also includes a May 15 opt-out date. A deal like this also usually includes an invitation to major league spring training.


The Blue Jays stunned the world when they picked up righty Walker Lockett off of waivers from Seattle in early December (note the sarcasm) but now, they’re letting him go to Korea.

Yonhap News Agency reports that the Doosan Bears of the KBO (in Korea) have signed Lockett to a deal that costs them $1 million, apparently the maximum for a first-year foreign player. The breakdown is, according to Dan Kurtz (@MyKBO on Twitter) that $250,000 is a signing bonus, $550,000 is Lockett’s salary and the Blue Jays get $200,000 for a transfer fee.

@Minor_Leaguer pointed out that the Blue Jays made a tidy $150,000 profit on Lockett, paying $50,000 to claim him on waivers on December 7 and getting $200,000 back from Doosan to release him to play in Korea.

  So the Blue Jays have created an extra space on their 40-man roster at this point by releasing Lockett while Cole won’t need a 40-man spot unless he makes the big league team.

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