Saturday, 31 December 2011

Jays Sign Aaron Laffey

Remember yesterday when I said that this time of year typically presents us with a bevy of minor free agent signings?  Aaron Laffey, ladies and gents.

According to MLBTR, Toronto is willing to give Laffey a chance to start (or at least compete for a starters job), apparently, which uhhh... yeah.  He was non-tendered by the Kansas City Royals, of all teams, so I'm not sure why he'd be a useful starter in the AL East, but whatever.  I mean, it's not like he was terrible last year, with a 103 ERA+ over 50 innings and change, but I definitely wouldn't call him a good pitcher, especially in this division.

Most people who transition from relieving to starting will add a run or so to their ERA, by virtue of platoon splits (i.e. as a reliever, he'd face more LHB's than RHB's due to managers using their bullpen to get their matchups, whereas he'd face more RHB's as a starter since opposing managers will put more righties in their lineups on a given day where a lefty is starting for the other team), though he doesn't really have a pronounced split in his stats; career OPSagainst of .718 vs. LHB, and .795 vs. RHB.  .718 OPS vs. LHB is terrible for a lefty pitcher, by the way.  His formula of giving up a lot of hits, and striking out slightly more people than he walks probably doesn't bode well for his plans of being a starter in the majors.

Anyway, it's a split contract, which means that he'll make the prorated portion of an MLB salary for his time spent in the majors, and the prorated portion of a minor league salary if sent to the minors.  I'm wondering if this is one of those AA things, similar to Scott Podsednik last year, where Laffey will be given the chance to compete for a starters' job in Toronto, and get released with the chance to find a job elsewhere if he can't get the starters gig in Toronto.  Podsednik was signed by the Jays last offseason, and was granted his release when it was apparent that he wasn't going to get MLB playing time.

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