More Pitching! Aardvark Coming to Toronto (or Buffalo)
By Jay Blue
Blue Jays from Away
The Blue Jays continue to sign on “Take a Chance on Me” talent after they announced the signing of veteran reliever David Aardsma (and if his nickname is not “The Aardvark,” there’s something wrong with the world. I’m just assuming it is) to a minor league contract.
Aardsma, 34, was a first-round pick of the San Francisco Gians in 2003 and actually made his big league debut in 2004. Since then, his record in the big leagues has been spotty, throwing 337 major league innings with a 4.27 ERA, 1.42 WHIP, and a career 23.1% strikeout rate and 12.4% walk rate.
Aardsma’s best results came in Seattle in 2009 and 2010 when he combined for a 2.90 ERA over 121 innings with a 1.16 WHIP despite walking 4.4 batters per nine innings. A Tommy John survivor, Aardsma also had a torn labrum in his left hip that limited his time on the mound in 2011 and 2012.
In 2015, he started the season with the Dodgers’ organization and, after 18 2/3 innings out very strong work in Triple-A, he opted out of his contract and signed on with the Braves, making it back to the majors after just one inning of work in Triple-A Gwinnett. He returned to the bigs on June 9 and remained with the Braves for the rest of the year, compiling a 4.70 ERA and 1.27 WHIP with a 27.1% strikeout rate and 10.9% walk rate.
What’s Aardsma’s situation going to be in Toronto? Probably similar to what it was last year with the Dodgers. If he pitches well (although is fastball averaged only 91.4 mph last year, down from his pre-injury 94+mph average), he’ll grab a bullpen spot away from someone like Chad Jenkins, Ryan Tepera or Bo Schultz or the Jays could stash him in Buffalo in case an injury comes along. I could easily see him opting out if he’s not on the big league roster by June or getting traded to a team that could give him a chance if he’s as effective in the minors as he was last year.
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The 2016 Toronto Blue Jays Minor League Handbook is coming this spring! Stay tuned for more information coming!7