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I'd Call That a Bargain: Jays Ink Mike Maroth and Raul Chavez to Add to Their Offseason Haul

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So we heard all about AAA masher Randy Ruiz and A.J. Pierzynski puncher Michael Barrett, but while we were out ordering our Matt Clement jerseys, the Jays issued a some more spring training invites. 

The name you're most likely to know is that of Mike Maroth, a lefthanded pitcher who has pitched for St. Louis and Detroit.  Maroth famously lost 21 games for the 2003 Detroit Tigers, but he had some okay seasons after that and was looking lik e a credible 5th starter.  Unfortuntaely for Mike, injuries held him back and he has struggled with performance and injury problems, finally resulting in shoulder surgery in June of 2008.   Although it's unlikely that Maroth claims a starting gig, I suppose Maroth could be used as a situational lefty if the Jays were to deal and/or convert Downs or Tallet into starters (I very much doubt either one will be made a starter, btw, though the article above mentions that as a possibility) but there is no shortage of young Jays who could fill that role as well, and Maroth's numbers against lefties, while fine, are hardly dominant (lifetime .730 OPS against).  I think it's quite unlikely Maroth will make the team, as it seems as though Ricky Romero (and probably Brian Bullington as well) could probably outpich him this season, to say nothing of the future.  Maroth is 31. 

The Jays also brought in Raul Chavez, a 35-year old catcher who has played for 5 major-league teams and never logged more than 162 major league at-bats.  When he had that many at-bats, it was as Houston's backup catcher and he managed an OPS+ of 33.  At 35, his defensive skills, once solid, are probably nothing to write home about now, so there's no reason he should make the team over Thigpen. 

There's essentially nothing to see here, the Jays are really just filling out their minor-league depth.  But I'd hope that they have better ways to use minor league at-bats/innings than to give them to Chavez and Maroth.  Chavez's job is probably to mentor the Jays' young catchers in the minors.  That said, Barrett has a good chance of making the team if healthy, and the Jays did a nice job getting him, who is a much much better play on a minor-league deal than Josh Bard, for whom the Red Sox guaranteed almost $2 million. 

Today's title comes from the song "Bargain" by the Who, a great hidden gem on Who's Next.