Blue Jays sign super-utility player Jake Elmore to minor-league deal

Toronto Blue Jays manager John Gibbons. (Frank Gunn/CP)

Jake Elmore, who has big-league experience at every position on the diamond, signed a minor league deal with the Toronto Blue Jays, the team announced Thursday. The deal, which includes an invitation to MLB spring training, provides the Blue Jays with a super-utility type who has reached the big leagues in each of the last five seasons.

Never a top prospect, Elmore was initially selected by the Diamondbacks in the 34th round of the 2008 draft. Four years later he reached the big leagues with Arizona as a backup middle infielder and appeared in 30 games. The following season, the Astros took full advantage of his versatility, as he became the first player in franchise history to play all nine positions.

To this point, however, the right-handed hitter’s versatility has distinguished him more than his bat. Stops with Cincinnati, Tampa Bay and Milwaukee followed his Houston stint and along the way, Elmore compiled a career batting line of .215/.297/.280 with four home runs in 478 plate appearances—approximately one season’s worth.

Most of the 29-year-old’s defensive experience comes at shortstop, second base and left field, and on a Blue Jays team that’s relatively light on backup middle infielders, that skillset will be welcome. Troy Tulowitzki and Devon Travis will start up the middle in Toronto, with Ryan Goins, Darwin Barney, Jonathan Diaz and Gregorio Petit among those available to back up. The loss of the versatile Andy Burns to Korea created an opening for someone with Elmore’s skillset.

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