Well, this certainly came out of nowhere. The Blue Jays announced on Twitter this morning that they’ve inked righty reliever Tyler Clippard to a Minor League deal with an invite to Spring Training.
Depth is good and there’s no such thing as a bad minor league signing. There’s no word yet, obviously, if Clippard has some kind of opt-out in his deal like Craig Breslow has in his, but given his service time, Clippard would be protected by Article XX-B.
Players with six years of major-league service time that sign minor-league deals now have what is called Article XX-B protection. Teams either have to put these players on the major-league roster or release them five days prior to the start of the MLB season. If they do neither, they must pay that player a $100,000 retention bonus.
As recently as 2015, Clippard was a really good weapon out of the ‘pen. He had his good years with the Washington Nationals, made two All-Star appearances, spent a year in Oakland, and then got dealt to the Mets when they went on their World Series run in 2015.
Clippard had a strange year in 2017. He started out with the Yankees and was dealt in that huge deal they had with the Chicago White Sox involving David Robertson and Todd Fraizer. Soon after that, Clippard was dealt to the Houston Astros for cash. He was extremely bad with Houston and didn’t make their postseason roster. All told, for the season, Clippard tossed 60 1/3 innings, had a 4.77 ERA, struck out 10.7 per nine and walked 4.6 per nine.
So, ultimately, this gives the Jays yet another option for a potentially very, very good bullpen. Right now, it’s looking like Seung-hwan Oh, Danny Barnes, Ryan Tepera, and Aaron Loup are locks for the pathway to Roberto Osuna, leaving two more spots for veterans Clippard, John Axford, Luis Santos, Craig Breslow, Al Albuquerque and youngsters Carlos Ramirez, Matt Dermody, and Tim Mayza.
Depth! DEPTH DEPTH DEPTH.
[Blue Jays front office]— Blue Jays Nation (@thejaysnation) March 7, 2018
An intern: [chanting] depth, depth-
Mark Shapiro: depth, DEPTH
Secretary: [pounding her clipboard] DEPTH, DEPTH, DEPTH!