Blue Jays agree to deal with right-handed reliever Rafael Dolis

Chicago Cubs closer Rafael Dolis, right, celebrates with catcher Geovany Soto after the Cubs defeated the Los Angeles Dodgers 5-4 in a baseball game in Chicago, Friday, May 4, 2012. (Nam Y. Huh/AP)

TORONTO – The Toronto Blue Jays agreed to sign right-handed reliever Rafael Dolis to a one-year deal that deepens their bullpen and reflects the club’s growing interest in the Pacific Rim.

The deal, which has yet to be announced by the team, includes a club option for 2021. Dolis has big-league experience, with 40 appearances for the Cubs from 2011-13, but the 32-year-old Dominican has spent his last four seasons with Japan’s Hanshin Tigers.

By his second season with the Tigers, Dolis was the club’s closer with 37 saves, 12.1 strikeouts per nine innings and a 2.71 ERA. His 2019 numbers were more modest, but he was still effective with 19 saves, 8.2 strikeouts per nine innings and a 2.51 ERA.

Dolis will earn $1 million plus bonuses in 2020, according to Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi, while the 2021 club option is worth $1.5 million with bonuses. The Blue Jays’ 40-man roster is full, so a corresponding move will be required to add Dolis.

He joins a Blue Jays bullpen short on certainty beyond closer Ken Giles. At this stage, Anthony Bass, Jordan Romano, Sam Gaviglio, Wilmer Font, Thomas Pannone and A.J. Cole are among the relief options for manager Charlie Montoyo.

Toronto’s deal with Dolis represents another foray to the Pacific Rim for the Blue Jays. Earlier in the winter, they signed Shun Yamaguchi, who pitched against Dolis in Japan’s Central League, and Hyun-Jin Ryu, a South Korean who spent the last seven years with the Dodgers. The deals with Dolis and Yamaguchi suggest the club’s front office believes players who thrive in Japan can also do so at the MLB level.

When submitting content, please abide by our submission guidelines, and avoid posting profanity, personal attacks or harassment. Should you violate our submissions guidelines, we reserve the right to remove your comments and block your account. Sportsnet reserves the right to close a story’s comment section at any time.