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Jays' FA haul for Herd includes PCL All-Star slugger Jimenez

Jimenez
Jimenez takes a rip during the Triple-A Home Run Derby here in July. (Mark Mulville/Buffalo News)

In the wake of their big deal with the Miami Marlins, the Toronto Blue Jays have some free-agent needs in Buffalo. And there may be more deals too that will create holes (still wonder if potential Herd CF Anthony Gose is going to the Mets as part of an R.A. Dickey trade)

The Blue Jays have already made a few signings for Buffalo (notably IL All-Star starting pitcher Justin Germano) and announced eight more on Tuesday -- including ex-Pacific Coast League slugger Luis Jimenez.

Jimenez, 30, represented Tacoma of the Seattle chain in both the Triple-A All-Star Game and Triple-A Home Run Derby last July in Coca-Cola Field. And the 6-foot-3, 280-pounder blasted a couple prodigious shots over the party deck in right field during the Derby.

In 125 games at Tacoma, Jimenez hit .310 with 32 doubles, 20 home runs and 81RBI. He went 1 for 17 in September in Seattle in his first big-league at-bats. 

Joining Jimenez in signing minor-league contracts with invitiations to Toronto's big-league spring camp are infielder Eugenio Velez, right-handers Claudio Vargas and Richard Thompson and left-hander Juan Perez. Three more pitchers (righties Buddy Carlyle and Chorye Spoone and lefty Greg Smith) inked minor-league deals.

Velez, 30, is another interesting addition. He had 37 stolen bases last year for Memphis (St. Louis), finishing one shy of the PCL lead. He batted .280 with 34 doubles, five triples, 11 homers and 58 RBIs in 136 games. 

Vargas, 34, has made 217 appearances in the big leagues for six teams. He had a big year last season for Nashville (Milwaukee), going 7-1 with a 3.69 ERA in 20 starts. The other known name in the list is Caryle, who has pitched 112 MLB games for four teams. He was 5-4, 3.43 with 73 strikeouts in 76 innings last season at Gwinnett. 

Among the other signees:

---Smith, 28, was 9-10, 3.97 in 22 games (21 starts) for Salt Lake City in the Los Angeles Angels chain. He had 83 strikeouts in 138 1/3 innings. His ERA was sixth in the PCL and his .257 batting average against was fifth. 

---Thompson, 28, was 4-2, 3.34 with three saves in 46 relief appearances for Sacramento (Oakland). He limited right-handed hitters to just a .198 average and had a 1.67 ERA in 21 outings after the all-star break. He pitched 44 games for the Angels in 2011 (1-3, 3.00).

---Perez, 34, split time between Milwaukee (0-1, 5.14 in 10 games) and Nashville (4-2, 3.60 in 38 games).

---Spoone, 27, was 0-2, 3.18 in 16 games with Toronto's Double-A New Hampshire team. He opened the year in Pawtucket, going 1-1, 2.79 in 14 games.

---Mike Harrington
Twitter: @BNHarrington 

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About Inside Pitch

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington

Mike Harrington, a Canisius College graduate who began his career as a News reporter in 1987, has covered the Buffalo Bisons since 1992 and Major League Baseball since 1995. A member of the Baseball Writers' Association of America, Harrington has reported on more than 30 MLB postseason series — including every game of the World Series in this century — and all three of the Bisons' championship runs in their modern era. He is a connoisseur of the famous Stadium Mustard at Cleveland's Progressive Field.

@BNHarrington | [email protected]


Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz

Amy Moritz, a native of Lockport, has covered the Bisons for The Buffalo News since 2002. She has a bachelor’s degree in journalism/mass communication from St. Bonaventure University and a master’s degree in humanities from the University at Buffalo. An endurance athlete, she has completed several triathlons, half marathons and marathons.

@amymoritz | [email protected]

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