— Blue Jays (@BlueJays) February 10, 2017
Just like with the Howell contract earlier today, we all already knew this had happened, it was just made official today. The Blue Jays have inked right-handed reliever Joe Smith to a one-year deal worth $3 million.
The more interesting thing here, though, is the corresponding roster move. In order to free up space for Smith on the 40-man, the Jays have designated catcher AJ Jimenez for assignment. This move was ultimately made possible by the Jarrod Saltalamacchia signing, as the Jays have a real backup catcher with big league experience.
#BlueJays DFA catcher A.J. Jimenez
— Keegan Matheson (@KeeganMatheson) February 10, 2017
This also ultimately means that the Jays likely view Juan Graterol, who was claimed off waivers from the Los Angeles Angels, as their third-string catcher. Graterol, unlike Jimenez, has actual MLB experience, albeit, in a very limited role, as he’s made 14 plate appearances over nine career games.
AJ Jimenez was placed on waivers last year after Spring Training and cleared, ultimately heading down to Triple-A Buffalo and producing a slash line of .241/.290/.377 on his third go around at the level. So there’s a pretty good chance he’ll pass through again and remain Blue Jays property.
What to make of all of this? Not much, really. Jimenez isn’t much of a player, Graterol isn’t either, but he’s an upgrade, and ideally, neither of them will have to play at the Major League level in 2017 so it’s all moot anyway.