Persons of Interest: Get to know the Blue Jays’ off-season additions

Toronto Blue Jays' Randal Grichuk warms up at spring training in Dunedin, Fla. on Wednesday February 21, 2018. (Frank Gunn/CP)

By Melissa Verge

It won’t be long until Rogers Centre is once again filled with the sounds and smells of summer: Beer, popcorn, and Toronto Blue Jays baseball. With the 2018 home opener quickly approaching, here’s a look at the acquisitions the team has made this off-season.

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INFIELDERS

Yangervis Solarte, 2B
Solarte, a switch-hitter, brings a lot of versatility to the roster – he can play multiple positions including second base, shortstop, third, and first. He had a .731 OPS in 2017.

Aledmys Diaz, SS
Diaz essentially replaced Ryan Goins this off-season; he’s primarily a shortstop but has also played third base, second base, and in left field. He hit .259 last year with the St. Louis Cardinals.

Gift Ngoepe, SS/2B
Ngoepe, acquired from the Pirates, has strong fielding skills and an impressive arm. The South African can play both shortstop and second base, and he slashed .222/.323/.296 in 28 games with Pittsburgh last season in his first taste of MLB action.

OUTFIELDERS

Curtis Granderson
Granderson is a veteran presence, having played in the bigs since 2004. He hit 23 home runs and had a .212 batting average last season, but finished with an .806 OPS against righties.

Randal Grichuk
Signed to a one-year deal, Grichuk had a .238 batting average last season. He walked 26 times last year and struck out 133 times.

PITCHERS

Jaime Garcia, LHP
Garcia, a ground-ball pitcher, had a 54.8 per cent ground-ball rate last season. He brings added experience to the rotation having pitched in MLB since 2008, and last season he had a 4.41 ERA.

Seung-hwan Oh, RHP
Signed to a one-year contract, Oh adds depth to the Blue Jays bullpen. He played professionally in Korea and Japan for 11 years, and has a 2.85 ERA over his two MLB seasons.

Al Alburquerque, RHP
Alburquerque joins the Blue Jays bullpen after signing a minor-league contract. In his 245 career innings pitched in the big leagues, he has marks of 10.7 K/9, and a 3.16 ERA.

Tyler Clippard, RHP
Signed to a minor-league contract, Clippard, a relief pitcher, had a 4.77 ERA last season. The 33-year-old has allowed a lot of fly-ball contact over his career at 53.6 per cent over the last five seasons.

John Axford, RHP
Signed to a minor-league contract, Axford, a relief pitcher, has a 3.71 career ERA in 470.2 innings pitched in the majors. The Canadian had a rough time last season with a 6.43 ERA in 21 innings for the Oakland Athletics.

Rhiner Cruz, RHP
Signed to a minor-league deal, Cruz is a veteran reliever who last pitched in MLB in 2013. He has a 5.31 ERA in 72 big-league games from 2012-13.

Jake Petricka, RHP
Signed to a minor-league contract, Petricka had a rough 2017 with a 7.01 ERA in 25.2 innings pitched. However, in the five seasons he’s pitched in the majors, his ERA is a combined 3.84.

Craig Breslow, LHP
Signed to a minor-league deal, Breslow has pitched in 12 MLB seasons.

Nick Tepesch, RHP
Signed to a minor-league deal, Tepesch had a 5.17 ERA over four starts last season for the Minnesota Twins and the Blue Jays.

Taylor Guerrieri, RHP
Guerrieri has a 2.51 ERA in six seasons across the minor leagues. He was claimed from the Tampa Bay Rays in November and missed most of the 2017 season with arm issues.

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