A month was almost allowed to pass since the last transaction that affected the 40-man roster, but the Blue Jays cut the static streak by claiming outfielder Matt Tuiasosopo from the Arizona Diamondbacks. In order to make room for him, reliever Luis Perez received his release.
This was Tuiasosopo's second waiver claim this offseason, after the Diamondbacks picked him from the Tigers back in November. The Washington state native was drafted by the Mariners in the third round back in 2004 and played portions of three seasons in Seattle from 2008-2010. He hit his first major league homer against the Blue Jays' Brian Tallet in September 2009. He was out of the majors in 2011 and 2012, spending those years with the Mariners' and Mets' triple-A clubs, respectively.
As a minor league free agent looking for a job after the 2012 season, Tuiasosopo did something many of us have done while job-seeking: email his resume to potential employers. It worked--he got a job (and a minor league contract) from the Tigers for 2013, spending the entire season on the big league roster. He hit .244/.351/.415 with 7 homers in 81 games.
He spent the bulk of his time last season in left field, but did see time at first base. He also has experience at the hot corner, coming up the Mariners' system as a third baseman, and most recently playing 70 games there with triple-A Buffalo in 2012. He provides depth at the corner positions.
Tuiasosopo, a righty, had reverse splits in 2013, struggling against lefties (.216/.336/.371 vs. LHP, .313/.389/.521 vs RHP) even though he was used as a platoon option for the Tigers. He had regular splits (hitting better against lefties than righties) in triple-A in 2011 and 2012, so I wouldn't immediately peg him for reverse splits yet.
He had a pretty steep drop off after a rib-cage strain in late June. In the 39 games before his injury, Tuiasosopo was hitting .338/.466/.563, while he was limited to a .172/.252/.301 line in the 44 games after his disabled list stint.
So far in spring training, Tuiasosopo, who will be turning 28 in May, hit just .118/.205/.147 in 39 plate appearances, striking out 14 times and walking 4. It might take some time for him to report to the Blue Jays' camp in Dunedin, as he is currently in Sydney:
Good morning from Sydney!! Beautiful sunrise while flying in! pic.twitter.com/0w5Czswwaa— Matt Tuiasosopo (@MPTuiasosopo) March 17, 2014
Luis Perez, 29, had Tommy John surgery in 2012 and returned to Toronto for six relief appearances at the end of last season. Perez spent most of the spring in minor league camp. As an out-of-options reliever coming off of a major injury, Perez was a long-shot at best to make the team out of the spring. It was interesting that the Blue Jays chose to grant him his outright release rather than try to keep him by placing him on outright waivers. He will receive 45 days in termination pay.