Blue Jays outright Colabello; 1B elects free agency

Blue Jays outright Colabello; 1B elects free agency

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- First baseman Chris Colabello declined his outright assignment from the Blue Jays to the Minor Leagues on Tuesday morning, electing to become a free agent.

Colabello was outrighted off the Blue Jays' 40-man roster on Friday to clear additional space. Since it was Colabello's second time being outrighted off the roster, he had the option to choose free agency.

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The 33-year-old Colabello will seek a fresh start following a controversial year in Toronto. Colabello was suspended 80 games in late April after testing positive for a banned substance, and he did not return to the big leagues after the ban came to an end in late July.

Colabello was a surprise contributor in 2015, when he joined the Blue Jays in early May. The native of Massachusetts went on to hit .321 with 15 home runs and 54 RBIs while posting an .886 OPS in 101 games. Following his career year, he tested positive in the spring of '16, and his production cratered upon returning.

In 40 games for Triple-A Buffalo after his reinstatement from the suspension, Colabello hit just .180 with a .248 on-base percentage and five extra-base hits. The lack of power and consistently hard contact was enough for Toronto to remove Colabello from its plans, even though the club faces uncertainty at first base with the expected departure of star slugger Edwin Encarnacion.

Colabello is now free to sign with any team of his choosing, though he'll likely have to settle for a Minor League deal. In parts of four big league seasons, Colabello is a .257 hitter with a .740 OPS.

Gregor Chisholm has covered the Blue Jays for MLB.com since 2011. Follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB and Facebook, and listen to his podcast. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.