The David Phelps era lives on!
The Blue Jays announced that seven players have been signed to minor-league contracts with an invitation to spring training. Here are some quick thoughts on each of them…
C Kellin Deglan — A 29-year-old Canadian catcher who was once a first-round draft pick of the Texas Rangers. Deglan spent time between the Yankees and Blue Jays Triple-A affiliates last season and slashed a .211/.320/.358 line over 39 games. He’ll be the veteran catcher on the Bisons in 2022.
RHP Jose De Leon — A righty who has spent time in the Dodgers, Rays, Reds, and Red Sox organizations. De Leon has tossed 48 innings at the big league level and has an ERA of 8.44 but has struck out 12.6 batters per nine. Work your magic, Pete!
LHP Matt Gage — A veteran lefty, Gage has spent years in Triple-A and has had stints in Indy Ball and in Mexico. Most recently, Gage put up a 4.14 ERA between the Diamondbacks’ Double- and Triple-A affiliated over 45 innings in 2021.
RHP Casey Lawrence — A familiar name, Casey Lawrence was in the Blue Jays system from 2010 to 2016 before making his big league debut in 2017. He pitched in Japan in 2019 and rejoined the Blue Jays in 2021, where he would serve as a veteran between Double- and Triple-A.
OF Nathan Lukes — A castoff of the deep Rays system, Lukes is a left-handed outfielder who put up decent numbers in Triple-A in 2021. Over 85 games for the Durham Bulls, Lukes slashed a .303/.352/.456 line.
RHP David Phelps — A name we know well, Phelps has had two go-arounds with the Blue Jays to this point. He signed with the team in 2019 after missing all of 2018 due to injury. Phelps rebounded nicely that season and the team wound up flipping him to the Cubs for Tom Hatch. Phelps again signed with the Jays last winter and he pitched very well but had his season ended again due to injury. In 11 appearances for the Blue Jays in 2021, he posted a 0.87 ERA.
OF Mallex Smith — An outfielder largely known for his glove and his speed on the bases, the Blue Jays acquired Smith from the Reds last summer shortly after the team lost Jonathan Davis on waivers. He could fill into the role that Jarrod Dyson had late in the season as a defensive replacement and pinch runner.