Blue Jays sign three players to minor-league contracts with invites to spring training

Brennan Delaney
2 months ago
The Blue Jays have made some signings.
Sadly, it’s not Ohtani, but they did pick up some depth. It was announced on Thursday afternoon that the Jays signed Rafael Lantigua, Steward Berroa, and Max McDowell to minor league deals with invites to spring training.
Let’s take a look at these three players.

Rafael Lantigua:

It was a shame when he was not re-signed earlier this month. It was also quite odd, because he slashed .305/.425/.469 with a 17 BB% and 18.5 K% along with 12 home runs in 578 plate appearances with the Triple-A Buffalo Bisons.
However, it was great news when he re-signed on November 16 as he continues his great play in the Dominican Winter League, where he’s slashing .258/.343/.387 with a home and a double in 35 plate appearances with Escogido.
In 2023, Lantigua played at every position except for first base, catcher, and pitcher. He played 69 innings at second base, 259 innings at third base, 41 innings in centre field, 311.2 innings in left field, 101 innings at right field, and 197 innings at shortstop.
Lantigua has a good shot of winning a spot on the roster out of spring training depending on other moves made by the Jays.

Steward Berroa:

Berroa is one of the most fun prospects in the organization.
Between Double-A and Triple-A, Berroa slashed .258/.368/.390 with seven homers in 450 plate appearances. His numbers did take a hit in Buffalo though, as he only slashed .156/.283/.222 with no homers.
Berroa’s calling card is his speed and centre field defence. Last season, he stole 47 bases in 57 attempts, and has stolen 203 total bases in 252 attempts for his career. Defensively, he uses that speed to be able to range and get the ball, and it’s paired with a strong arm.
In the Dominican Winter League, Escogido is using his strengths to their benefits, as he only has 11 plate appearances and is slashing .182/.182/.182, but he’s appeared in 18 games nonetheless. The 24-year-old outfielder has primarily been used for speed on the base paths (4/4 in stolen base attempts) and a defensive replacement.

Max McDowell:

At one point, catching prospects were plentiful in the Blue Jays organization, but just a few short years later, no catching prospect resides in their Top 30.
McDowell isn’t a prospect, but he certainly is catching depth. The 29-year-old was traded to the Blue Jays from the Philadelphia Phillies in exchange for cash. McDowell only had 13 plate appearances with Buffalo, where he had three singles and a double, along with a 7.7 BB% and a 23.1 K%.
The former 13th-rounder spent the majority of the season with Philadelphia’s Double-A team, where he slashed .224/.366/.319 with six homers in 264 plate appearances. At this level, he had a 13.3 BB% and a 24.2 K% for a 101 wRC+.
It’s likely that McDowell will jump between levels wherever the Jays need catching help, but an invite to spring training leads me to believe that the Jays have some faith in him.

As always, you can follow me on Twitter, Instagram, and Threads @Brennan_L_D.


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