|The Blue Jays pulled off a pair of left fielder-for-reliever trades in the late hours of July 30. The first such transaction sent Travis Snider to the Pirates for Brad Lincoln, while the second shipped Eric Thames to the Mariners for 28-year-old righthander Steve Delabar.
Toronto’s relief efforts aren’t limited to Lincoln and Delabar. The Blue Jays previously acquired Brandon Lyon, J.A. Happ and minor leaguer David Carpenter from the Astros, making for five bullpen imports in the less than two weeks.
|Blue Jays Acquire|
|Steve Delabar, rhp
Age: 28. Born: Jul 17, 1983 in Fort Knox, Ky.
Ht.: 6-5. Wt.: 220.
Bats: R. Throws: R.
School: Volunteer State (Tenn.) CC.
Career Transactions: Selected by Padres in 29th round of 2003 draft; signed May 12, 2004 … Released by Padres, May 23, 2008 … Signed by independent Florence (Frontier), June 2008 … Signed by independent Brockton (Can-Am), June 2008 … Signed by Mariners, April 19, 2011.
Released by the Padres in 2008, Delabar spent two years in independent leagues and a year out of baseball working as a substitute teacher before the Mariners signed him in April 2011. He rocketed from high Class A to the majors in five months and has spent most of this season in Seattle’s bullpen. Delabar pitches primarily with a fastball that sits around 94-95 mph and a splitter in the upper 80s. There’s a lot of effort in his delivery, which adds some deception but also detracts from his command. He gave up seven homers in his first 24 big league innings this year, earning him a trip to Triple-A Tacoma for most of June, but has been much more effective (2.61 ERA, .147 opponent average) in July.
|Eric Thames, lf
Age: 25. Born: Nov 10, 1986 in San Jose.
Ht.: 6-3. Wt.: 205.
Bats: L. Throws: R.
Career Transactions: Selected by Blue Jays in seventh round of 2008 draft; signed June 11, 2008 … On disabled list, June 19-Sept. 17, 2008.
The Blue Jays turned to Thames in 2011 when Travis Snider needed more time in the minors, but ultimately Thames batted .257/.306/.429 with 15 homers in 554 plate appearances for Toronto, edged out of the outfield picture by the callup of top prospect Anthony Gose. (Going forward, Toronto looks like it will rely on Gose, Colby Rasmus and Jose Bautista as regulars, with Rajai Davis as fourth outfielder.) Thames probably won’t ever hit for a high average, but with his lifting approach from the left side he could run into 15-20 homers a season, but whether that will be enough to compensate for a .260-ish average and fair defense in left field is an open question.