The Blue Jays have reportedly signed a pair of veterans to Minor League deals: reliever Ronald Belisario and infielder Ramon Santiago. Both players have been invited to Major League Spring Training.
Belisario’s contract will pay him $1.7 million if the right-hander makes the big league club, according to ESPN’s Jim Bowden.
Belisario, 32, has closing experience, but has been better in a middle relief role over a five-year career in the big leagues. He’s coming off a bit of a down season, though, after going 4-8 with a 5.56 ERA in 62 appearances with the White Sox in 2014. Chicago designated him for assignment in November. His best season came in 2012 with the Dodgers, when he went 8-1 with a 2.54 ERA in 68 relief appearances covering 71 innings.
Santiago, 35, appeared in 75 games with the Reds last season and produced a .246/.343/.324 slash line in 214 plate appearances. His deal with the Blue Jays was reported by Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi. A veteran of 13 seasons in the Majors, Santiago can play shortstop, second base and third.
The Blue Jays begin Spring Training next month, with pitchers and catchers scheduled for their first workout Feb. 23 and the first full squad workout on Feb. 27.
While Brandon Beachy is reportedly “getting stronger” coming off his second Tommy John surgery, his agent told FOXSports.com‘s Ken Rosenthal that the right-hander intends to wait until closer to Spring Training to make a decision about signing with a club.
“Brandon has decided not to sign a contract at this time,” Beachy’s agent Rob Martin told Rosenthal. “With each day his arm is getting stronger and he’s feeling even more confident about his progress. Thus, he is going to continue with his throwing program and make a decision closer to spring training.”
Beachy, 28, has not pitched in the Majors since Aug. 20, 2013. Over the course of four seasons with the Braves, he is 14-11 with a 3.23 ERA in 46 starts.
— Joey Nowak
The Blue Jays could still use some help in the bullpen, as MLB.com’s Gregor Chisholm writes, and the club is making progress on a contract with right-hander Ronald Belisario, tweets Jon Morosi of FOX Sports.
While a deal with Belisario is not yet finished, he would appear to be a solid fit in Toronto.
Belisario, 32, has closing experience, but has been better in a middle relief role over a five-year career in the big leagues. He’s coming off a bit of a down season, though, after going 4-8 with a 5.56 ERA in 62 appearances with the White Sox in 2014. Chicago designated him for assignment in November.
Belisario’s best season came in 2012 with the Dodgers, when he went 8-1 with a 2.54 ERA in 68 relief appearances covering 71 innings.
There are still a number of proven relievers available on the free-agent market, including Francisco Rodriguez, Rafael Soriano, Alexi Ogando and John Axford.
Jenrry Mejia and the New York Mets have settled on a deal according to CBS Sports.
The report said Mejia and the Mets agreed on a $2.595 million deal.
Mejia, 25, appeared in 63 games for the Mets this season and posted a 3.65 ERA. The right hander also struck out 98 batters in 93 2/3 innings.
– William Boor
The Braves have officially signed Cuban outfielder Dian Toscano to a four-year contract, the team announced on Wednesday. Toscano’s deal includes a club option for the 2019 season.
To make room for Toscano on the 40-man roster, the Braves designated outfielder Jose Constanza for assignment.
Toscano, 25, posted a .356/.440/.452 slash line in Cuba’s Serie Nacional during the 2012-13 season. A left-handed hitter, Toscano is expected to begin this season in the Minors, tweets MLB.com’s Mark Bowman.
“We are very excited to come to terms with a player of Dian’s ability,” Braves president of baseball operations John Hart said in a statement released by the team. “As we look to add depth to our organization, the international market is very important to us and expanding our search into Cuba is a significant step.”
Constanza has played parts of four seasons with the Braves, appearing in 12 games in 2014.
Gordon Beckham is back with the White Sox. The infielder has agreed to terms on a one-year, $2 million contract, the club announced on Wednesday.
To make room on the 40-man roster for Beckham, the White Sox designated outfielder Dayan Viciedo for assignment.
Beckham, 28, was traded to the Angels last August after spending all of his career with Chicago. In 127 games between the two teams last season, he hit .226 with 27 doubles and nine home runs.
“Adding Gordon improves the depth and flexibility of our roster,” White Sox general manager Rick Hahn said in a statement released by the team. “We are thrilled to have him back. Like Emilio Bonifacio, Gordon brings the ability to play solid defense at multiple positions or play on an everyday basis should the need arise. This also gives Robin the ability to play matchups more effectively when setting the lineup.”
Beckham was a first-round pick by the White Sox in the 2008 Draft and made his Major League debut in ’09.
Viciedo hit .231 with 21 homers in 145 games with the White Sox last year.
Veteran starting pitcher Joe Blanton is on the comeback trail. The right-hander will hold an open workout and bullpen session for interested clubs on Feb. 4, tweets Tim Dierkes of MLB Trade Rumors.
Blanton, 34, retired from baseball in April and did not pitch in the big leagues last season. He last pitched in the Majors in 2013 with the Angels, going 2-14 with a 6.04 ERA over 28 appearances, including 20 starts.
Over a 10-year career with the Phillies, A’s, Dodgers and Angels, Blanton is 85-89 with a 4.51 ERA. He’s pitched at least 191 innings in six different seasons.
At this point, Blanton’s best bet to get back to the Majors would seem to be as a fifth starter on a Minor League deal. If he can go to Spring Training with a club, he could have a shot.
The Mariners have signed veteran catcher John Baker to a Minor League contract with an invitation to Major League Spring Training, according to Jon Heyman of CBS Sports.
Baker, 34, provides depth and should compete for a backup role with Seattle. He hit .192 in 68 games with the Cubs last season. Baker has also played for the Marlins and Padres over a seven-year career in the big leagues.
The Mariners have three catchers on their 40-man roster in Mike Zunino, John Hicks and Jesus Sucre.
Pitchers and catchers report to Mariners camp Feb. 20.
The Nationals bolstered their bullpen on Wednesday, reportedly agreeing to a one-year deal with free-agent reliever Casey Janssen.
FOXSports.com’s Ken Rosenthal first reported the agreement, which is for one year with a mutual option and a total guarantee of $5 million. The club has not confirmed the report.
Janssen, 33, went 3-3 with a 3.94 ERA and 25 saves for the Blue Jays last season. Over the past three years in Toronto, he compiled 81 saves while posting a 2.94 ERA and 0.99 WHIP in 168 appearances.
Janssen could compete for the setup role made available when the Nationals traded reliever Tyler Clippard to the A’s in exchange for shortstop Yunel Escobar earlier this month.
In parts of eight seasons with the Blue Jays, Janssen went 29-24 with a 3.52 ERA and 90 saves in 493 innings.
Outfielder Travis Snider is headed to Baltimore in exchange for left-handed pitching prospect Stephen Tarpley. The Pirates will also receive a player to be named later in the deal.
To make room on their 40-man roster, Baltimore designated catcher Michael Ohlman for assignment.
The two clubs reportedly discussed a deal involving Snider and Orioles left-hander Brian Matusz last month, but those talks apparently never gained enough traction. Instead, it’s Tarpley, who spent last season with low Class A Aberdeen, heading to Pittsburgh in the trade.
Snider, who turns 27 next week, had a breakout season of sorts last year, particularly after the All-Star break. He posted a .288/.356/.524 batting line with nine home runs and 24 RBIs in just 60 games during the season’s second half.
“Snider is a solid, dependable, power-hitting outfielder and is an excellent fit for Camden Yards,” Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette told MLB.com via text. “[He] should be a good addition to the club, at bat and in [the] field.”
Despite Snider’s potential, there was a logjam blocking him from consistent playing time in Pittsburgh. The Pirates currently have Starling Marte and highly-touted prospect Gregory Polanco slated to man the corner outfield spots alongside perennial MVP threat Andrew McCutchen in center.
Meanwhile, acquring Snider helps Baltimore fill the void left by the departures this offseason of Nick Markakis and Nelson Cruz. The O’s have been tied to a number of outfielders this offseason, both via free agency and potential trades, but hadn’t yet reeled in a replacement.
The 21-year-old Tarpley, who was a third-round pick in the 2013 Draft out of Scottsdale Community College, had a 3.68 ERA in 13 appearances last season (12 starts). He posted a 1.41 WHIP, while fanning 60 hitters in 66 innings.
— Paul Casella