The Toronto Blue Jays added another arm to their pitching mix Tuesday, acquiring right-hander Arnold Leon from the Athletics. The Blue Jays will send Oakland cash considerations or a player to be named later to complete the trade.
Leon debuted with Oakland last year, posting a 4.39 ERA in 19 relief appearances, mostly in September. The 27-year-old, whose fastball averages 91.7 mph, pitched 26.2 innings for the Athletics while walking nine and striking out 19.
The native of Culiacan, Mexico spent most of the 2015 season with Oakland’s triple-A affiliate, where he started six games and pitched extensively in relief. He posted a 2.95 ERA with Nashville, striking out 55 in 58 total innings.
The Athletics designated Leon for assignment Dec. 28 when they signed former Blue Jays starter Henderson Alvarez.
The Blue Jays’ bullpen currently consists of at least two sure things in Roberto Osuna and Brett Cecil. Aaron Sanchez and Jesse Chavez could also pitch in relief, though both are expected to compete for starting jobs in spring training. Aaron Loup, still viewed as a bounce-back candidate by the Blue Jays, would give manager John Gibbons a second left-hander.
Beyond that core group, the likes of Steve Delabar, Roberto Hernandez, Bo Schultz, Ryan Tepera and Rule 5 pick Joe Biagini will be among those competing for bullpen roles. While the Blue Jays have carried eight relievers at times in recent years, most teams favour seven-man bullpens.
The Blue Jays now have one open spot on their 40-man roster. Leon would earn the MLB minimum salary if he makes the MLB team.