The Diamondbacks have signed free agent right-handed reliever Tom Wilhelmsen to a minor league deal, per a team announcement on Friday. The contract comes with an invitation to spring training.
Wilhelmsen was released by the Mariners in November. The 33-year-old split his 2016 run between the Rangers and Mariners, pitching to a combined 6.80 ERA, 3.7 BB/9 and 5.4 SO/9 that reflected a tough stretch in Texas during the first half of the season. His career stats should give the Diamondbacks some reassurance, however, as the righty carries a 3.46 ERA, 4.0 BB/9 and 8.1 SO/9 through six years in the majors. He peaked in Seattle during the 2012 season, putting up a career-best 1.6 fWAR for the club after ousting fellow right-hander Brandon League from the closer’s spot.
Wilhelmsen figures to be in the mix for another major league gig this spring. Many of the Diamondback’s bullpen spots appear to be up for grabs behind right-handers Jake Barrett and Randall Delgado and closer Fernando Rodney, though the team has no shortage of short-term options to consider.
The Buffalo Blue Jays? Is that a thing? Maybe.
The Toronto Blue Jays are, officially, set to begin their season at Rogers Centre in Toronto on July 29. Mike Harrington of the Buffalo News, however, reports that they are looking at alternatives:
Multiple sources confirm to The Buffalo News that the Bisons’ parent club has finally reached out to Rich Baseball Operations in the last couple of days to examine the possibility of Toronto’s home schedule being played in Buffalo this summer.
This report of a potential for the Buffalo Blue Jays to make their debut comes a couple of days after the strict restrictions on movement for Jays players — they are reportedly required to stick to the Rogers Centre and the connecting hotel or face harsh punishment — met with at least some backlash. The restrictions are inevitable, however, given that Canada is requiring a 14-day quarantine for people traveling into the country. Since the Jays will be playing all road games in the United States, there is little choice for them but to be restricted to their hotel and the ballpark after arriving back in the country after playing games in the states.
As Harrington notes, Buffalo is not an ideal option given the less-than-major-league-level lighting and clubhouse space present in the Triple-A park, so it would not be ideal. Like everyone else these days, however, the Buffalo Blue Jays — er, I’m sorry, the Toronto Blue Jays — have little choice but to scramble.