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Blue Jays sign free agent Shoemaker to shore up rotation

If the Shoe fits, the Blue Jays may have found a much-needed piece for their starting rotation.

A quiet off-season picked up somewhat on Friday when the club confirmed it had signed right-handed pitcher Matt Shoemaker to a one-year deal worth a guaranteed US$3.5 million.

The 32-year-old has spent all of his major-league career with the Los Angeles Angels and pitched in just seven games last season as he battled forearm injuries.

The Jays scouting staff saw enough in September to take a shot on Shoemaker, however, likely slotting him into a fourth- or fifth-starter spot assuming he’s healthy enough and in good form through spring training.

The Angels left him unprotected earlier this month, leaving Shoemaker to test free agency. Besides the $3.5-million base salary, Shoemaker reportedly can make another $1 million should he meet performance bonuses.

Shoemaker, who made six starts in September, is under club control through 2020, another attraction for Toronto management should the veteran regain the form he had earlier in his career.

With more off-season moves likely still to come, the Jays rotation as it stands now would include Aaron Sanchez, Marcus Stroman, Ryan Borucki, Shoemaker and Sam Gaviglio.

If the exclamation points are any indication, Shoemaker certainly sounded keen on getting his career back on track in a new city and country.

“I couldn’t be more excited about joining the @BlueJays!” Shoemaker posted on Twitter. “I can’t wait to play for these wonderful fans, in this awesome city, with such a great organization! I can’t wait to get this season started!”

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