Blue Jays sign lefty reliever Choate to minor-league deal

St. Louis Cardinals relief pitcher Randy Choate throws during the seventh inning in Game 2 of the National League baseball championship series. (Charlie Niebergall/AP)

With Aaron Loup on the shelf with an elbow injury, the Toronto Blue Jays have opted to bolster their stable of left-handed relievers.

The Blue Jays announced Friday that the team has signed well-travelled southpaw Randy Choate to a minor-league deal.

Choate has played for six franchises over his 15-year career, most recently serving as a LOOGY (left-handed one-out guy) for the St. Louis Cardinals over the last three seasons. Last year, he posted a 1-0 record and 3.95 ERA across 71 appearances that spanned only 27.1 innings.

The 40-year-old is one of the purest matchup southpaws in the game, used almost exclusively to get a single left-handed batter. In 2015, 80 per cent of the hitters he faced were left-handed, and he hasn’t faced more right-handers than lefties since 2003.

Despite maxing out in the mid-80s with his fastball, Choate's funky delivery frustrates same-handed opponents, who've hit just .193/.274/.274 against him in his career.


There is some concern that Choate's game has fallen off in recent years as his velocity has dropped down to 83.7 mph in 2015 and left-handers touched him to the tune of a .259/.333/.361 line.