Jays sign 8 to minor league deals

PCL All-Star Jimenez among signings

By Buffalo Bisons | December 11, 2012 6:37 AM

The Toronto Blue Jays today announced that they have signed INF LUIS JIMENEZ, INF EUGENIO VELEZ, RHP CLAUDIO VARGAS, RHP RICHARD THOMPSON and LHP JUAN PEREZ to minor league contracts with invitations to major league spring training.

Additionally, Toronto also signed RHP BUDDY CARLYLE, RHP CHORYE SPOONE, and LHP GREG SMITH to minor league contracts.

Jimenez, 30, was a Pacific Coast League All-Star in 2012 with Tacoma (Mariners) and competed in both the Triple-A All-Star Game and the Triple-A Home Run Derby last July at Coca-Cola Field. In 125 games with the Rainiers, Jimenez hit .310 with 32 doubles, 20 home runs and 81RBI. His 242 total bases last season were third most in the PCL. Jimenez made his major league debut with Seattle last September and had a hit in 17 at-bats over seven games with the Mariners.

Velez, 30, spent last season with Memphis (Cardinals) of the PCL and hit .280 with 34 doubles, five triples, 11 home runs and 58RBI in 136 games for the Redbirds. The infielder was also 37 of 46 stealing bases, finishing just one stolen base shy of the Pacific Coast League lead.

Vargas, 34, made 20 starts for the Nashville Sounds (Brewers) of the PCL in 2012. The veteran posted a 7-1 record and a 3.69ERA that fell just six innings shy of qualifying as the 4th-best mark in the league. Vargas struck out 84 batters in 109.2 innings of work and allowed just 32 walks.

Vargas has pitched in 217 major league games with the Expos (2003-2004), Nationals (2005), Diamondbacks (2005-2006), Brewers (2007, 2009-2010), Mets (2008) and Dodgers (2009) with a career record of 48-40 and a 4.83ERA in 764.2 innings of work.

Thompson, 28, was 4-2 with a 3.34ERA and three saves in 46 relief appearances for the Sacramento River Cats (Athletics) in 2012. He limited right-handed hitters to just a .198 (23-116) average against and posted a 1.67ERA in 21 appearances after last year's All-Star Break.

Thompson pitched in a career-high 44 games with the Angels in 2011 going 1-3 with a 3.00ERA in 54.0 innings of work. The righty saw action with Los Angeles in every season from 2007-2012 before being designated for assignment in April. He appeared in one game for the A's last season (0.2IP, 1H).

Perez, 34, split last season between the Brewers and the Nashville Sounds. In 10 games with Milwaukee, the southpaw was 0-1 with a 5.14ERA in 7.0 innings of work (10K). He worked 38 times out of the bullpen for the Sounds and was 4-2 with a 3.60ERA (40.0IP, 54K).

Perez made his major league debut with the Pirates in 2007 and pitched in eight games with the Phillies in 2011. He is 1-2 with a 4.88ERA in 42 career major league games.

Carlyle, 34, pitched in 33 games for the Gwinnett Braves in 2012. The rightly went 5-4 with a 3.43ERA and 73 strikeouts in 76.0 innings of work last season. Carlyle has appeared in 112 major league games with the Padres (1999-2000), Dodgers (2005), Braves (2007-2009) and the Yankees (2011) with a career mark of 11-12 with a 5.58ERA (253.1IP, 198K).

Spoone, 27, split last season between Double-A and Triple-A, appearing in 14 games with the Pawtucket Red Sox to begin the year. With the PawSox, Spoone was 1-1 with a 2.79ERA (19.1IP, 10K). He was signed by the Blue Jays last July and closed out the year with 16 games for Toronto's Double-A affiliate in New Hampshire (0-2, 3.18ERA).

Smith, 28, made 21 starts and one relief appearance for the Triple-A Salt Lake Bees (Angels) of the Pacific Coast League in 2012. The southpaw was 9-10 with a 3.97ERA and 83 strikeouts in 138.1 innings of work. His 3.97ERA was the 6th lowest in the PCL while his .257 average against ranked 5th-best in the circuit.

-the herd-

This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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