Blue Jays and Jay Jackson agree to minor league deal

Blue Jays sign reliever Jay Jackson to a minor league contract, reports Jon Heyman of the New York Post (Twitter link). He will be in the big league camp as an unregistered guest.

The 35-year-old has seen major league action in four seasons, including each of the past two years. He pitched just twice at the top level for the Braves last season, going 1 1/3 frames scoreless. He was kept out of action for the first two months by a lat strain and spent most of the year on optional assignment at Triple-A Gwinnett.

Jackson pitched very well for the Stripers, allowing just five runs in 19 2/3 innings. He struck out 25 of the 80 batters he faced (a 31.3% clip) while walking just four. Despite this fine work, Jackson was unable to grab a spot in an Atlanta bullpen that was one of the deepest in the sport. The Braves gave him outright waivers in September and he reached minor league free agency at the end of the season.

The veteran pitcher recorded more extensive MLB action with the Giants during the 2021 campaign. He pitched 21 2/3 innings in 23 outings for San Francisco, posting a 3.74 ERA while hitting 31.1% of batters faced . He missed plenty of bats but struggled with wobbly control, handing out free passes to over 13% of opponents.

Jackson will be in camp vying for a spot in a Toronto bullpen that could have some mid-inning openings. Jordan Romano, Erik Swanson, Anthony Bass, Yimi Garcia and Mayza Team should have secure places. Adam Cimber and launchers out of options Trevor Richard and Michael White might have the inside track to the remaining jobs, but doesn’t seem as firmly entrenched. Jackson is running out of minor league options himself, meaning he would have to stay in the majors or be made available to other teams if he cracks the MLB roster at any time.

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