CBN: Jays sign Independent League arms

By Devon Teeple (@devonteeple)

The Toronto Blue Jays have shown once again that it doesn’t take a blockbuster deal to raise some eyebrows.

With the game and its global reach, the Blue Jays know no limit to where they can find talent. They have signed reliever Mike Benacka of Laredo Lemur of the independent American Association and last week Toronto signed Quebec Capitales lefty-specialist Tony Davis.

Benacka 30, has spent the majority of his pro career in the Oakland A’s system (2008-2011). Over the course of his six pro seasons, three in the Independent League, Benacka has appeared in over 240 games, saving 56.

His career professional ERA sits at an even 3.00 and his overall record is 22-13.

But the pièce de résistance: 12.3 K/9, including 15.7 K/9 while pitching for Laredo in 2012.

While pitching for the York Revolution and Lemurs in 2012, Benacka appeared in 49 games recording 13 saves. He surrendered 36 hits in 59 innings while striking out an eye-popping 98 batters.

More than likely he will begin the season in double-A, and whether or not he makes it up to Toronto in 2013 is another story.

With the superb pitching staff and bullpen the Jays have it’s going to be a tough nut to crack, but every appearance is an audition. And if Benacka pitches like he did in Laredo, it won’t just be the Jays looking to use his services.

The Jays have signed two Independent League pitchers in the last two weeks but others could follow Benacka and Davis.

According to the American Association, Benacka was the fourth Laredo player signed by a MLB organization this year.

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