MINNEAPOLIS - OCTOBER 07: Jon Rauch #60 of the Minnesota Twins wipes his brow against the New York Yankees during game two of the ALDS on October 7 2010 at Target Field in Minneapolis Minnesota. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)

Jon Rauch Signs Contract As Blue Jays Try To Replace Departed Arms

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Jon Rauch Signs Contract As Blue Jays Try To Replace Departed Arms

So far over the course of the offseason, the Toronto Blue Jays bullpen has lost major 2010 contributors Kevin Gregg and Scott Downs. In an effort to fill the void left by the departed, the team on Monday signed free agent reliever Jon Rauch to a one-year contract.

According to Jerry Crasnick, Rauch will earn $3.5 million in 2011, and the deal also comes with a $3.75 million club option for 2012. He'll therefore get a bit of a raise from 2010's $2.9 million, earned in his final year of arbitration eligibility.

The 32-year-old Rauch first appeared in the big leagues in 2002, but he came into his own as a reliever in 2006. Since then, he's posted a 3.57 ERA with the Nationals, Diamondbacks, and Twins, most recently serving as Minnesota's closer for much of 2010. While his repertoire isn't overpowering, he throws a lot of strikes and is difficult to square up. He makes for a pretty steady setup arm who can double as a passable closer in an emergency.

With Rauch off the table, the best remaining free agent righty relievers may be Chad Durbin and Aaron Heilman. For more, check out Bluebird Banter.

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