Juan Pierre can opt out of Phillies contract on March 31

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Juan Pierre’s minor-league contract with the Phillies included an invitation to spring training and an opt-out clause that allows him to become a free agent again on March 31 if he’s not on the big-league roster.

If he does make the team Pierre will get $800,000 in guaranteed money and Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Daily News speculates that he’s a near-lock to do so in part because Ryan Howard’s injury creates a roster opening.

As for why Pierre chose to sign with the Phillies, he revealed:

To be honest, I didn’t have too many choices. It was late in the offseason and I felt [general manager] Ruben [Amaro Jr.] pretty much had his team set, so once they called I was shocked and I guess honored, too. They’re not in the business of wasting time. They’re in the business of winning.

And business is good!

Blue Jays could move Jaime Garcia to bullpen

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Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi reports that the Blue Jays are considering moving starter Jaime Garcia to the bullpen. If they go that route, Sam Gaviglio would start in Garcia’s place on Sunday against the Angels.

Garcia, 31, has struggled to a 6.16 ERA with a 56/31 K/BB ratio in 61 1/3 innings over 13 starts this season. Gaviglio, meanwhile, has a 3.75 ERA with 35 striekouts and 11 walks in 36 innings across six starts and two relief appearances for the Jays this year.

Garcia inked a one-year, $10 million contract with the Jays in February. The deal includes a club option for the 2019 season worth $10 million with a $2 million buyout.