Blue Jays reportedly sign reliever Rafael Dolis

LAKELAND, FL - MARCH 03: Rafael Dolis has not pitched in the major leagues since 2013, but the Toronto Blue Jays believe they've found something useful. (Photo by Mark Cunningham/MLB Photos via Getty Images)

The Toronto Blue Jays have left no stone unturned in their attempts to makeover the pitching staff for the 2020 season, and the international scouting department delivered once again as the team reportedly agreed to deal outside the normal pool of available players.

According to Scott Mitchell of TSN, the Blue Jays agreed to a one-year deal with reliever Rafael Dolis, a 32-year-old righty that has been pitching in Japan since 2016.

Signed as an international free agent by the Chicago Cubs in 2004, Dolis appeared in 40 games for the team between 2011-2013, pitching to a 5.48 ERA in 44 major league innings, walking 26 while striking out 25. He bounced around to the minor league systems of the San Francisco Giants and Detroit Tigers for two seasons following his stint with the Cubs, then opted to play in Japan when things failed to work out at the major league level.

The decision looked like the correct one, as Dolis was excellent in four seasons with Japan’s Hanshin Tigers. He posted a 2.49 ERA and 96 saves over 206 innings between 2016-19, with 9.9 K/9 and a dramatically reduced 2.7 BB/9. Known as a power pitcher in his prospect days, Dolis flashed a 96 MPH fastball and sinker combination in his first go-around as a major leaguer, with a mid-80s slider and changeup complimentary mix.

Dolis’ deal is worth $1M plus possible bonuses according to Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi, with an $1.5M option for 2021. This is the second signing this offseason alone that the Blue Jays have made from Japan’s NPB, with pitcher Shun Yamaguchi formerly of the Yomiuri Giants inking a deal in December.

The Blue Jays will have to clear a spot on the 40-man roster to officially sign Dolis. A corresponding move is expected to be made shortly.

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