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Blue Jays Sign James Kaprielian to Minor League Deal

The Toronto Blue Jays have signed free-agent right-hander James Kaprielian to a minor league contract, assigning him to Triple-A Buffalo.

Once a top pitching prospect for the Yankees, Kaprielian was traded to Oakland in 2017 in the deal that brought Sonny Gray to New York. Injuries plagued Kaprielian throughout his time with the A’s, including Tommy John surgery and multiple shoulder surgeries.

Kaprielian’s 2021 season with Oakland offered a glimpse of his potential when healthy, as he pitched 119 1/3 innings with a 4.07 ERA, a 24.5% strikeout rate, and an 8.2% walk rate.

Though home runs were a concern, his performance showed promise. In 2022, he set a career-high with 134 innings, posting a 4.23 ERA with increased velocity but saw declines in strikeout and walk rates.

However, Kaprielian struggled significantly in 2023 after undergoing shoulder surgery, resulting in a 6.34 ERA over 61 innings. The A’s ultimately waived him, and he became a minor league free agent.

Now, nearly a year after his last surgery, Kaprielian joins a Blue Jays team in need of rotation depth following Alek Manoah’s season-ending surgery. With their rotation already thin, Kaprielian could become a crucial asset if he regains his previous form.

Should he prove effective, the Blue Jays could control him for three more seasons, offering a potential long-term benefit. However, his ability to return to form remains uncertain, making this a calculated gamble for Toronto.

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