Injuries & Moves: Vogelbach signs Minors deal

February 18th, 2024

As Spring Training opens in Dunedin, Fla., this is where you'll find the latest news on Blue Jays transactions and injury updates all season long.

LATEST NEWS

Feb. 18: DH signs Minor League deal
Vogelbach agreed to a Minor League deal with an invitation to MLB Spring Training. The 31-year-old Vogelbach played two games with the Blue Jays in 2020 and spent ’23 with the Mets, where he hit .233 with a .743 OPS and 13 home runs.

If there’s a path to a job for Vogelbach, it’s crushing right-handed pitching. That’s always been his bread and butter, with a career .814 OPS against righties compared to just a .463 OPS against lefties. In those situations, Justin Turner could play third base with Vogelbach at DH and Vladimir Guerrero Jr. at first. Vogelbach’s main competition for that bench spot looks like Spencer Horwitz, the prospect whose profile leans far more toward contact and reaching base at a high rate.

Feb. 16: 3B signs Minor League deal
Escobar, 35, will fight for a job in what would be his 14th MLB season. He brings obvious experience to an infield depth group that is already very crowded. With most of his playing time coming at third base and second, he has a similar defensive profile to several others in this competition. Escobar has hit left-handed pitching particularly well and has five seasons of 20-plus home runs in the big leagues, So while he’s coming off a down year offensively, the Blue Jays are hoping to catch lightning in a bottle one more time. More >>

Feb. 13: UTIL traded to Giants for cash considerations
Lopez still had some prospect shine left, ranking No. 14 among Blue Jays prospects entering last season, but he was coming off a down year and staring at a mountain of middle-infield depth in front of him on the 40-man roster. Lopez climbed through the Minor Leagues as a .300 hitter with speed and defensive versatility, though, and he could still profile as a very nice bench piece in the big leagues. He'll have that opportunity now with the Giants and is worth keeping an eye on if you're a Blue Jays fan given his eligibility to play for Canada at the World Baseball Classic, which he did in 2023.

Feb. 9: Signed RHP Yariel Rodríguez to five-year, $32 million deal; designated UTIL for assignment
This deal brings some welcome upside to the Blue Jays’ rotation depth in Rodríguez, who was one of this market’s biggest mysteries. After pitching professionally in Cuba, Rodríguez excelled as a reliever in Japan with the Chunichi Dragons but did not return to his club following the 2023 World Baseball Classic, meaning he has not pitched competitively in a year.

Lopez leaves the 40-man roster in an accompanying move, the product of him being out of options behind a deep, talented group of infielders.

These are all "non-roster" invitees, meaning they are not yet on the 40-man roster. Top prospects like Orelvis Martinez or Addison Barger are already on the 40-man roster, which is why you don't see their names listed here. Throughout camp, the Blue Jays will bring other players over to the big league camp, particularly when games begin, so there will be more names to come.

Jan. 30: 3B/DH signs one-year, $13 million deal
Turner steps in to replace Brandon Belt in the veteran's old role but should see more than just DH reps. The Blue Jays envision using Turner at third base sometimes, depending on how that complicated timeshare works out, and he's also played first. The 38-year-old still has some pop, coming off 23 home runs and an. 800 OPS with the Red Sox last season, but his ability to reach base and put the ball in play is just as attractive.

INJURY UPDATES