The Blue Jays sign two players to a minor league deal with an invitation to spring training

Photo credit:Ray Carlin-USA TODAY Sports
Ryley Delaney
1 year ago
Minor league deals keep rolling in.
Per the Blue Jays Twitter account, the team has signed 32-year-old reliever Luke Bard to a minor league deal with an invitation to Spring Training.
Bard pitched in the majors in 2022 with both the Tampa Bay Rays and the New York Yankees, posting a 1.80 ERA and a 3.85 FIP in 15 innings pitched. For his career, he has a 4.44 ERA and a 5.05 FIP in 81 innings pitched, pitching with the Los Angeles Angeles in the early part of his career. 
Bard, who is the younger brother of the Colorado Rockies closer Daniel Bard, has never been one to register many strikeouts, as he had a 13.6 K% (and an 11.9 BB%) in the majors this past season. For his career, he has a 20.4 K% and a 7.5 BB%.
Interestingly, he posted a 28.7 K% in Triple-A with the Tampa Bay Ray affiliate in 24 innings pitched. While his FIP and ERA were elevated compared to his MLB numbers (he had a 4.29 ERA in 35.2 innings pitched in the minors in 2022), Bard is a good depth option.
There’s also room to improve, as his fastball sits at 94 mph. What’s more interesting is the fact that Bard is a big spinny boi, as his Baseball Savant page notes that he is in the 99th percentile for fastball spin, averaging 2570 RPM on his fastball, and 2732 on his slider.
It also worth noting that the Jays signed some more catching depth in Jamie Ritchie. The 29-year-old was the backstop of the Pittsburgh Pirates’ Triple-A team, where he slashed .242/.375/.283 with no homers in 120 plate appearances. However, he had a 17.5 BB% and a 16.7 K%, which is rather impressive.
In the 2021 season with Arizona’s Triple-A team, he slashed .317/.417/.430 in 336 plate appearances, and hit four homers. In fact, he has a career .284/.402/.395 slash line in the minor leagues, along with an impressive 15 BB% and a 17.3 K%. I went more in-depth on his minor league career in the Twitter thread below.
I would expect more minor league signings to happen in the upcoming days, and potentially even main roster deals. Within the next week, both Hyun-Jin Ryu and Chad Green will be placed on the 60-day IL, which opens up two spots on the 40-man roster.
It’ll be interesting to see if these two players can make an impression on the Blue Jays staff in spring training. Who knows, they could get the call up to the big leagues at some point in 2023.
As always, you can follow me on Twitter and Instagram @Brennan_L_D.


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