Blue Jays sign Phillips to Minor League Deal

Jason Phillips agreed on Tuesday to a minor league contract with the Toronto Blue Jays and will be invited to Spring Training to compete for a catching spot on the club.

The 29-year-old Phillips spent last season with the Los Angeles Dodgers batting .238 with ten home runs and fifty-five runs batted in. Phillips also hit twenty doubles in 121 games. Phillips caught 93 games registering a .992 fielding percentage.

The La Mesa, California native will be competing with Guillermo Quiroz, the top catching prospect of the Blue Jays, for the backup spot to veteran catcher Gregg Zaun. Quiroz is out of options and will need to pass through waivers if he does not make the major league club, and the Jays want to send him to Triple-A Syracuse.

The 24-year-old Quiroz hit just .194 in his 12 games with the Jays last season. He played in just 40 minor league games in 2005 after missing the first half of the season with a collapsed lung. Quiroz got called up in late August and also played in the Arizona Fall League to make up for the time missed. Toronto was hoping Quiroz could improve at the plate during winter ball, but the young catcher currently has a .203 average in the Venezuelan League.

The 6'1", 220 lbs., Phillips has played parts of five seasons in the Majors. He is a career .254 hitter with 29 home runs and 150 RBI in 385 games. Phillips spent the first four years of his career with the New York Mets (2001-2004) before being traded to the Dodgers on March 20, 2005. He was originally selected by the Mets in the 24th round of the 1997 First Year Player Draft.

In 2003 Phillips played in 119 games with the Mets and batted .298 with eleven home runs and fifty-eight runs batted in. He also registered a career high 403 at bats that season.

Phillips also had experience playing first base.

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