Per a team release, the Blue Jays have claimed IF/OF Russ Canzler from the Cleveland Indians, who designated him for assignment two days ago after signing Mark Reynolds. Canzler was drafted out of high school in the 30th round in 2004 by the Chicago Cubs, and played pretty much as a non-prospect in the Cubs system, taking six seasons to make it to AA Tennessee, where he played almost two full seasons. He signed as a minor league free agent with the Rays in after the 2010 season and was assigned to the AAA Durham Bulls where he won the 2011 International League MVP.
To make room on the 40-man roster for Canzler, the Blue Jays outrighted recent waiver claimee Mickey Storey to the AAA Buffalo Bisons.
Canzler, a 26-year old Pennsylvanian, made his Major League debut with the Rays in 2011 after hitting .314/.401/.530 with 18 home runs and 40 doubles in 131 games en route to an MVP award. He was traded for cash to the Indians last offseason and played most of the year for the AAA Columbus Clippers. His offensive stats fell to .265/.328/.487, but was called up to the big club in September anyway. The Indians had a problem with their left fielders, going through Shelley Duncan, Johnny Damon, and Aaron Cunningham before designating them all for assignment, as Ryan wrote over at Let's Go Tribe. With Cleveland, he hit .269/.299/.398 over 97 plate appearances with 3 homers and 22 strikeouts. Canzler spoke about his big league call up with Cleveland.com.
As a righty with power who can play all four corner positions, he may become a good platoon partner for Adam Lind in addition to giving the cornermen a day off every now and then. He strikes out quite a bit though, averaging a 22.5% K-rate in his professional career, which is approximately where Colby Rasmus was at in 2012. Kevin Goldstein had a paragraph about him over on Baseball Prospectus, writing that although he has a good bat, he will likely be a AAAA-type of player. I am surprised that the Indians chose to expose him to waivers, although the age (27 come mid-April 2013) may be a factor--their other first base options are former Blue Jays Yan Gomes and Mike McDade. This, like most other waiver claims this year, is a low-cost, low-risk move for the Blue Jays, but could potentially have a decent upside.