Despite the fact that pitchers and catchers report to the Toronto Blue Jays’ camp in just five days, the club is not finished bringing in some pitching depth to compete for bullpen spots in spring training. The Blue Jays have announced that they’ve signed reliever Brian Moran and Sportsnet has reported that the Jays have signed Jake Petricka, both on minor league deals with invites to spring training.
Petricka has the more experience of the two. The 31-year-old righty was a Blue Jays in 2018, pitching 45 2/3 innings with the Jays, logging a 4.53 ERA and 1.64 WHIP over that span, striking out 41 and walking 16. Petricka’s best years were with the Chicago White Sox between 2013 and 2015 but he spent last year with the Rangers and Brewers’ organization, pitching mostly in Triple-A but getting into six games with the Brewers. Petricka’s velocity was down about a mile and a half on his fastball last year, falling under 94 mph on average for the first time since his rookie year in 2013, but he’s always been a ground ball machine, getting as many as 69% of balls in play on the ground, although that dipped to 51.9% with the Brewers in the big leagues.
Shi Davidi reported that Petricka’s contract is for $950,000 if he makes the big leagues.
The other pitcher that the Blue Jays have announced signing is lefty Brian Moran. Moran made the big leagues last year for the first time with the Miami Marlins at the age of 30 and pitched in 10 games for just 6 1/3 innings, giving up three runs on six hits and two walks but he struck out 10 batters.
Moran was originally a seventh-round draft pick of the Seattle Mariners in 2009 and was selected by the Blue Jays in the 2013 Rule 5 draft and promptly traded to the Angels for international bonus pool money. He was returned to the Mariners after he underwent Tommy John surgery in April of 2014 after having problems in spring training. Following the surgery, he put up decent numbers in Double-A in 2015 and was selected by the Indians in the minor league phase of the 2015 Rule 5 draft.
Moran was released by the Indians before he got a chance to pitch in the regular season in 2016 and caught on with Bridgeport in the independent Atlantic League, posting a 3.12 ERA and 1.41 WHIP over 34 2/3 innings, striking out 42 and walking 12, getting him a contract with Atlanta who sent him to Triple-A Gwinnett. where he pitched in six games and was again selected in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 draft, this time going to Baltimore. He was released by Baltimore before the season started (again) and signed with Bridgeport (again). He was dominant in Bridgeport, with a 2.33 ERA and 0.88 WHIP over 19 1/3 innings, striking out 33 with nine walks. This time it was the Dodgers who signed him and he had strong numbers in Double-A for them.
Moran pitched in the minors for the Dodgers and then the Rockies in 2018 and caught on with Miami in 2019 where he was very strong in the minors, posting a 3.15 ERA and 1.18 WHIP with 77 strikeouts and 26 walks in 60 innings for Triple-A New Orleans.
Moran is not a hard thrower, sitting around 85 mph with his four-seam and his sinker and he has a sweeping slider to go with it. His fastball sinks heavily and is reported to get a high number of swings and misses.
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