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Santos signs Minors deal with Blue Jays

MLB.com @gregorMLB

TORONTO -- Right-hander Luis Santos is returning for another stint with the Blue Jays.

Santos signed a Minor League deal with an invitation to Spring Training on Monday afternoon. The 26-year-old made his big league debut with the Blue Jays in September, but he was released at the end of the year to make room on the 40-man roster for additional prospects.

TORONTO -- Right-hander Luis Santos is returning for another stint with the Blue Jays.

Santos signed a Minor League deal with an invitation to Spring Training on Monday afternoon. The 26-year-old made his big league debut with the Blue Jays in September, but he was released at the end of the year to make room on the 40-man roster for additional prospects.

In 10 appearances with Toronto, Santos posted a 2.70 ERA over 16 2/3 innings. He also made 21 starts in the Minor Leagues with a 4.16 ERA, but he shows some potential as a possible reliever or swingman out of the bullpen.

Santos will compete for a job in Spring Training, but he will likely open the year as depth in the Minor Leagues. Toronto currently has Joe Biagini as its fifth starter, but if another pitcher is added this offseason, he likely slides into the long reliever role that Santos would be looking for.

Toronto spent most of the 2017 season without a long reliever, and that took its toll at various points of the season. Blue Jays starters tossed 868 1/3 innings, which ranked 13th in the American League, and the club often had to shuffle through multiple relievers after a short outing. That has to change next year, and Santos represents an additional depth piece to make sure it doesn't happen again.

The Blue Jays currently have Roberto Osuna, Ryan Tepera, Dominic Leone, Danny Barnes, Aaron Loup and possibly Biagini in the bullpen. Toronto is also expected to pursue a lefty reliever, with some of the possible fits in free agency that include Jake McGee, Robbie Ross Jr., Boone Logan and Fernando Abad. Potential interest in a reunion with righty reliever Joe Smith -- or signing someone like the recently non-tendered Jared Hughes -- would increase Toronto's depth even further and allow for a possible trade this winter.

With the annual Winter Meetings scheduled to run from Dec. 11-14 in Orlando, Fla., the Blue Jays are also in the market for another piece to add to the rotation and a corner outfielder. Toronto's payroll is expected to be in the range of $170 million again next season, which leaves upwards of $20-30 million to spend on a starter, outfielder and another reliever.

Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast.

This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Toronto Blue Jays, Luis Santos