A.J. Cole won’t be back with the Blue Jays next season.
The veteran righty has reportedly inked a one-year deal worth $840,000 with the Tokyo Swallows of Japan’s NPB.
Cole signed as a minor-league free agent with the Blue Jays back in November of 2019 and was an effective arm for the team during the COVID-shortened 2020 season. He was again brought back on a minor-league deal for 2021 and got off to a great start, allowing just one earned run in eight innings, but his season got derailed due to injury.
Cole dealt with neck tightness and an oblique strain and only wound up pitching 20 innings in total, eight in the big leagues and 12 in the minors.
There was some thought that Cole could join the team on another minor-league deal but it isn’t surprising to see him take a decent bag of cash and a more guaranteed role in Japan.