Letters of Intent
By Andrew Hendriks
‘Twas the night before Christmas (eve) and all through the Dome, not a creature was stirring… except for Alex Anthopoulos and his companions who were held up in the front offices of One Blue Jays Way doing some last minute shopping of their own.
Toronto claimed a pair of pitchers off waivers on Tuesday in an attempt to help shore up some of the teams bullpen concerns ahead of the 2015 season.
From the Pittsburgh Pirates, they snagged Preston Guilmet, a right handed hurler who appeared in 10 games with the American League champion Baltimore Orioles squad in 2014, going 0-1 with an of 5.23 in ten and a third innings of work.
Primarily appearing as a reliever over his six seasons in pro ball, Guilmet has posted outstanding numbers in the minors including four consecutive campaigns (2010-13) in which the 22nd round draft pick has recorded and ERA south of 2.50. Having served up only 29 home runs while accumulating a career WHIP of 1.006 in 236 minor league contests, control has been the 27 year-old’s game for the better part of his career and is unquestionably his greatest strength on the mound.
With an unorthodox over-the-top delivery, the University of Arizona standout has proven to be a valuable commodity when pitching at the MiLB level, however that success has yet to make the transition into his major league stat line as in a sample sized showing of 14 career games with both Cleveland and Baltimore, the former 22nd round draft pick (2008) has posted a less than favorable ERA of 6.89 to go along with a respectable K/9 of 7.5.
Although he has yet to put it all together at the major league level, its worth noting that having recorded an even 100 saves in 236 MiLB appearances, Guilmet projects as a late inning reliever, something the Blue Jays could use given their need of quality arms in the bullpen for 2015.
In addition to Guilmet, the Jays’ also picked up a left handed reliever in Scott Barnes, who, like the aforementioned hurler, was also placed on waivers by the Texas Rangers, prior to being claimed by Toronto.
Barnes, like Guilmet, comes with a background of playing in Cuyahoga County as the Springfield, Massachusetts native made a total of 22 appearances with Cleveland between 2012 and 2013, posting an ERA of 5.20 along with 0-1 record in 22 relief appearances with the Tribe.
In seven seasons of MiLB ball, Barnes has gone 39-31 with an ERA of 4.12 in 162 games, 82 of which have been starts. Despite posting modest overall numbers, his minor league stat line is highlighted by a career HR/9 of 0.9 in addition to a promising SO/9 of 9.6.
Both additions have under a years worth of service time on their individual contracts and are able to be optioned to and from the minors if needed.
Although more tweaks are sure to be made between now and April sixth, Toronto’s 40-man roster is now full.
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