Latos signs Minors deal with Blue Jays

Latos signs Minors deal with Blue Jays

LAKELAND, Fla. -- The Blue Jays on Thursday signed right-hander Mat Latos to a Minor League contract with an invitation to Spring Training.

He will make $1.5 million if he makes the 25-man roster, according to Sportsnet. He also can earn more in incentives.

Latos, 29, creates starting-pitching depth for the Blue Jays, although he could earn a job in the bullpen with a strong spring.

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"Excited about him," Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins said Thursday evening. "He's a guy that we talked to early in the offseason. We saw [him] as a good fit with our infield defense, with our outfield defense, with our catching. The track record -- he's a guy that had nearly 200 games started in the big leagues. Our need for starting depth, his experience starting and recently in the bullpen ... so the guy clearly can get Major League outs and we're glad to have him in the organization."

Latos split last season with the White Sox and Nationals, going 7-3 with a 4.89 ERA in 17 appearances. He started 2016 in the White Sox rotation, but he was released after posting a 4.62 ERA in 11 starts. He made six appearances (five in relief) for the Nationals in September.

Latos has battled injuries and ineffectiveness since being traded from Cincinnati to Miami after the 2014 season. He went 60-45 with a 3.34 ERA (113 ERA+) over 153 starts for the Padres and Reds from 2009-14, but he has posted a 4.92 ERA in 41 appearances since. The Blue Jays are his sixth organization since the start of the 2015 season.

Overall, Latos is 71-58 with a 3.60 ERA and 7.9 strikeouts per nine innings over eight Major League seasons.

Latos will be one of several former starters vying for a bullpen role in camp, along with Gavin Floyd, Brett Oberholtzer and Mike Bolsinger. Toronto's rotation, at this point, appears set, with Aaron Sanchez leading a group that includes Marco Estrada, J.A. Happ, Marcus Stroman and Francisco Liriano.

Asked if there could be any additional Minor League signings in the future, Atkins said, "We feel good about the position we're in. We feel pretty good about where our team is right now."

Todd Zolecki has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2009. Follow him on Twitter and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.