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Blue Jays sign Tyler Clippard to minor-league deal

Clippard fell off a cliff in 2017, but the Blue Jays hope for a return to form.

MLB: Houston Astros at Oakland Athletics John Hefti-USA TODAY Sports

The Blue Jays announced the signing of reliever Tyler Clippard to a minor-league deal on Wednesday morning. The deal includes an invite to spring training.

Clippard, an 11-year major league veteran, suffered through the worst season of his career in 2017, when he posted a 4.77 ERA and 4.6 walks per nine innings. Clippard bounced from the Yankees to the White Sox and eventually the Astros last season, but didn’t factor into Houston’s World Series run.

Despite the righty’s recent struggles, the Blue Jays hope Clippard can rediscover his past effectiveness and crack the major league roster in 2018. Clippard possesses a below average fastball, but made a career out of his off-speed pitches that have forced plenty of whiffs over the years.

Clippard has experience against the hitter-friendly AL East thanks to his time with the Yankees, which could help or prove to be disastrous if last season’s performance repeats itself.

The Blue Jays add depth to their bullpen with the acquisition of Clippard, who will compete with Al Alburquerque, John Axford and others for a bullpen spot. The closer’s role is occupied by Roberto Osuna. The Blue Jays’ bullpen ranked 15th in baseball last season with a 4.21 team ERA.