Jays agree to terms with Ohka

On Tuesday, Toronto reached a preliminary agreement on a one-year deal with free-agent starter Tomo Ohka. The deal is pending a physical, so Jays GM J.P. Ricciardi didn’t want to get into financial specifics until the deal was official. The contract is believed to be worth $1.5 million with another $1.5 million in incentives.

So as it currently stands, Roy Halladay, A.J. Burnett, Gustavo Chacin, John Thomson and Tomo Ohka would make up Toronto’s rotation. Both Thomson and Ohka come with some recent injury history, and both Burnett and Chacin struggled with elbow issues last year, too. So if someone goes down this spring, Shaun Marcum, Josh Towers, Casey Janssen and Dustin McGowan could be in the running for a rotation spot.

Marcum and Towers could also be in the running for a long relief role out of the bullpen. Towers isn’t ideal out of the bullpen, but Marcum has experience as a reliever and a starter, making it very possible that he could take that job. Janssen and McGowan seem destined for Triple-A. Anything can happen during Spring Training, though.

The Thomson and Ohka signings are both low risk deals that could turn out to be bargains for Toronto. If both are over their injuries, they are each capable of making 30 starts and logging 180-200 innings — all for the base price of $3 million combined.

For Ohka and his agent, Jim Masteralexis, run support played a big role in the decision. Ohka has a career ERA of 4.04, but a 48-57 record partly because he’s never pitched for a team with a prolific offense. That shouldn’t be an issue with Toronto, which should have one of the best O’s in all of baseball in 2007.

Ohka was initially looking for a three-year deal and he had a number of two-year offers on the table as recent as Monday. The pitcher and his agent decided instead to focus on one-year offers. That way Ohka can possibly benefit from pitching for a competitive team and once again become a free agent in 2008.


  1. hockeymaniac6208@hotmail.com

    I like this signing of Ohka. He is a really good end of the rotation guy if he can stay healthy. With the offense we have and the record he has on losing teams he could easily be a 15-20 game winner. I think if the jays could, they should sign another pitcher like Ohka because if Thomson or Ohka struggles then they have another kind of a vetren to go into the rotation and they shouldnt really use marcum and all the young guys in the rotation, let them goin down to triple A or go into the bullpen and get more developed and stuff. If there is a injury then they use them. But a rotation of Doc, AJ, Chacin, Ohka and thomson, is a way better rotation if they can stay healthy then what we started with.

  2. serialthriller11@yahoo.ca

    Definitely a good signing. Hopefully this rotation sticks and stays healthy. At least with these guys here, we have a good starting rotation and a bunch of good young pitchers if these guys land on the DL. This was a good move by JP. Look at the potential….
    1 Halladay

    2 Burnett

    3 Chacin

    4 Ohka

    5 Thomson

    add Marcum as a spot starter and bullpen. and of course Ryan to close things.

    Then you got a potent lineup. This was a great offseason for the Jays, and we still have some time left before Spring training. What next.

  3. tkpage@hotmail.com

    Signing Ohka and Thompson is a great idea with lots of potential upside and low risk.It should also push a guy like McGowen to step up and realize his potential.I heard a story a few days ago on Baseball Beat (xm radio) that many scouts and Gms can’t understand why McGowen isn’t pitching in the rotation and having successful seasons by now.I still believe that Shaun Marcum Could be a good #4 or #5 starter soon if not this season.He deserves strong consideration and a rotation spot should be his to lose ahead of Thompson or Ohka.Last year was baptism by fire for him and he started to show great promise at the end of the year.Casey Jansenn could also be in this catagory.However, the additions of Ohka and Thompson gives us depth and if Marcum goes to the pen and Jansenn and McGowen to triple A,it makes the Jays pitching stronger and deeper than last year.

  4. dave6998@hotmail.com

    Im sure we could get Redman for a real cheap one year deal. Make room by giving Towers away for a bucket of balls. Redman pitched good innings

  5. gibby21aaa@hotmail.com

    There’s no such thing as a “real cheap” lefty these days. That’s the only reason why Chacin’s spot is a lock despite his less than ideal ERA. The Jays have done well to keep pressure on the young prospects (Marcum/Macgowan) with these moves, letting them know that they will not get to the majors by default, they have to earn their spots. Any more pitchers piled into the mix though, and the Jays will need to start pushing starters into the bullpen, or making the young guys feel like they have no chance, which won’t make anyone happy.

  6. dave6998@hotmail.com

    True enough Gibby, it will be a dark bluejay day when we are forced to get rid of the likes of Towers for something useful, like, a bucket of balls.

    Another question. Ron Villone? Any good ? is he the guy with the weird side arm delivery ??? Would we want a guy with a side arm delivery ?

  7. trueplaya_202@hotmail.com

    Hey Jordan

    I was reading your mailbag today and the last question reminded me of something I needed clarifcation about. Im going to Florida in March during march break and am hopeful to catch a jays game. On game days what is there schedule like? Do they practice earlier in the morning and stuff liek that?

    Also when is the best time to get autographs and that sort of stuff?

    Thanks Jordan. I love the blog and the mailbag!

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