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Blue Jays sign David Phelps

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David Phelps heads to Toronto on an incentive-laden contract as he looks to bounce back from Tommy John surgery

David Phelps
David Phelps
Photo by Matt Hazlett/Getty Images

The Blue Jays have reportedly signed reliever David Phelps to a one-year contract with a team option for 2020 and various bonuses based on appearances and games finished, according to Ken Rosenthal.

Phelps, 32, did not play at all last season, having torn his ulnar collateral ligament in spring training for the Mariners and will likely be ready to go this spring training. At the time of the injury, it was expected that he would start as the primary setup man for Seattle in 2018. Phelps had been up and down with both the Yankees and the Marlins in his early career as a starter, and he features a two-seamer and a cutter and change-up as an out pitch.

His conversion to a reliever in 2016 resulted in his most productive season, and he’s shown the ability to pitch a lot of innings out of the bullpen as needed. But with just over 50 innings pitched in the last two years, it’s uncertain what the Jays can rely on from him. Like some many signings this year, Phelps is a roll of the dice. If he can regain his form, he’s a potentially valuable trade piece or cheap ticket in the bullpen for this year and next. If not, he only costs the Jays a guaranteed $2.5 million.

As Rosenthal reported, Phelps can get various bonuses for additional games finished. Unless something unexpected happens to Ken Giles it is unlikely that Phelps would reach the $350,000 bonuses for 40+ games finished.

This is a good low-risk signing for the Blue Jays that demonstrates the club’s financial flexibility, as this contract can be worth anything from $2.5 million to $13 million.

The Blue Jays will have to make room on the 40-man roster for Phelps, with Dalton Pompey and Sam Gaviglio as the most likely candidates to be removed.

As my laptop battery is running dangerously low, I’ll just say: discuss amongst yourselves in the comments


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