From Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com comes word that the Blue Jays have signed veteran right-hander Miguel Batista to a minor league contract. He was assigned to Triple-A Buffalo, where he will try to pitch well enough to get a shot in Toronto.
Batista signed a minor league contract with the Rockies this winter, then allowed 13 runs — seven earned — in just seven spring innings and was let loose before the beginning of the regular season. It took him about 10 days to find a new gig.
Batista, 42, posted a 4.61 ERA and 1.73 WHIP in 52 2/3 innings last season between the Mets and Braves.
The Rockies are cornering the market on lousy pitchers. After the weekend’s signings of Miguel Batista and Chris Volstad, Troy Renck of the Denver Post reports that they aren’t through yet:
Even with Volstad in the fold, the Rockies are aggressively pursuing free agents Carl Pavano, a right-hander they have tried to acquire numerous times over the last few seasons, and Derek Lowe, a sinkerballer who has pitched well at Coors Field. The Rockies would like to finalize a deal with another veteran this week.
A lot of people have had aggressive feelings with respect to Pavano and Lowe over the past couple of seasons, but it’s mostly been the “God, I want to kill that guy” kind of aggression, and it has been on part of the fan base of the teams for which they’ve played. This whole thing in which a general manager wants them badly for his team is rather new.
Anyway, this news comes, Renck notes, after the Rockies failed to sign Kevin Correia, Kyle McClellan and Aaron Cook. I guess if you throw enough mediocre-at-best arms against the wall, some of it is gonna stick.
Troy Renck of the Denver Post reports that the Rockies are nearing agreement on a minor league contract with veteran right-hander Miguel Batista.
If the deal is finalized — and there’s no reason to think it won’t be — Batista will be given an invitation to major league spring training with a pretty favorable opportunity to claim a spot in mid-to-long relief.
Batista posted an ugly 4.61 ERA, 1.73 WHIP and 36/33 K/BB ratio across 52 2/3 innings last season between the Mets and Braves. But the Rockies have one of the worst pitching staffs in the major leagues.
Batista’s resume includes stops in Pittsburgh, Florida, Chicago, Montreal, Kansas City, Arizona, Toronto, Seattle, D.C., St. Louis, New York and Atlanta. His best year was probably 2003 with the Diamondbacks.
UPDATE, 9:13 PM: CBS Sports’ Jon Heyman reports that the deal has been made official.
While all indications were that the Blue Jays planned to bring in a retread as John Farrell’s replacement on the bench, who knew it’d again be one of their own? John Gibbons, who managed the team from 2004-08, will reclaim the job, the Toronto Sun reports.
Gibbons had a 305-305 record in three full and two partial seasons in his first stint at the helm of the Jays. It was his only gig as a major league manager. When he was fired after a 35-39 start in 2008, he was replaced by another former Jays manager, Cito Gaston.
The hiring, expected to be officially announced Tuesday, will come one day after the team officially acquired shortstop Jose Reyes, right-hander Josh Johnson and left-hander Mark Buehrle in a 12-player deal.
Gibbons’ original Toronto stint is best remembered for his confrontations with players Shea Hillenbrand and Ted Lilly. Hillenbrand was traded just a few days after taking on Gibbons, while Lilly and Gibbons made up not long after their blow-up.
Still, the bigger problem with Gibbons was his tendency to stick with underperforming veterans. Part of it was the hand he was dealt, but he always seemed to be most comfortable sticking with his veteran role players.
Maybe that won’t make much of a difference now, since the Jays have assembled a high-payroll team and don’t have a bunch of prospects knocking down the door (they still have some talent, but much of it remains at least a year or two away from the majors). How he handles the bullpen will be a big key for him, particularly if the Jays fail to acquire an experienced closer. They have plenty of talented arms, but it remains to be seen whether Gibbons will favor experience over talent. After all, this is a guy who once let Miguel Batista rack up 31 saves.
Aaron Gleeman said this yesterday after Miguel Batista got released by the Mets:
It’s hard to imagine Batista getting another big-league job at this point, but then again I’ve been saying that since about 2008.
He’ll get a chance to say it again, because the Braves just signed Batista.
Atlanta had Livan Hernandez for a while this year and then they released him, so I’m not sure why they want a less-durable, more literary version of him. I guess they just missed having a way-past-his-sell-date former Washington Nationals swingman on the roster. We all have our kinks.
Batista pitched 46 and two-thirds innings for the Mets this year, starting in five games and coming out of the pen for 25. He notched a 4.82 ERA and struck out 34 while walking 31 (!) batters.
If any of you are seeing anything in that stat line that I’m missing which would help a team with pretensions of contending, please feel free to point it out to me in the comments. Because I’m at a total loss.