Donaldson, Blue Jays finalize 2-year deal

Donaldson, Blue Jays finalize 2-year deal

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays were not going to downplay the accomplishments of Josh Donaldson, but now that the arbitration process has been avoided, the risk of upsetting their star player is no longer a concern.

Toronto officially signed the reigning American League MVP Award winner to a two-year contract worth $28.65 million on Wednesday. Donaldson is set to make $11.65 million in 2016 and $17 million in '17, then he will have one final year of arbitration in '18.

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Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, 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.

Work begins on dirt infield at Rogers Centre

Work begins on dirt infield at Rogers Centre

TORONTO -- Construction has begun, and the Blue Jays are well on their way to having an all-dirt infield installed at Rogers Centre in time for the start of the 2016 season.

The work began Monday morning and will continue until the end of March. That will give the grounds crew a full week to groom, treat and monitor the conditions in preparation for the home opener against Boston on April 8.

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Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, 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.

Happ highlights Blue Jays' newcomers in 2016

Left-handed starter acquired to bolster Toronto's rotation

Happ highlights Blue Jays' newcomers in 2016

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays entered the offseason knowing they would retain one of the best lineups in baseball, but there were plenty of question marks about whether there will be enough pitching to repeat as American League East champions.

No. 1 starter David Price is gone, but his departure created just one of several holes on the pitching staff that needed to be filled. The club had to get better not only in the starting rotation, but also in the bullpen. After several moves, the Blue Jays feel the mission was accomplished.

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Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, 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.

Pillar wants crack at leadoff role

Outfielder makes case for being Blue Jays' tablesetter

Pillar wants crack at leadoff role

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays have an opening at the top of their lineup, and Kevin Pillar strongly believes that he is the man for the job.

Pillar made his case to be named the club's leadoff hitter while in Toronto last week to attend an annual event for season-ticket holders. The departure of Ben Revere created a void at the top of the order, and Pillar wants a shot at being named the replacement.

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Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, 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.

Comeback year for Saunders crucial for Blue Jays

Toronto needs bounce-back seasons from several as it attempts to defend AL East title

Comeback year for Saunders crucial for Blue Jays

TORONTO -- The official start of Spring Training is almost here. Now it's time to start taking a closer look at the Blue Jays' roster in preparation for Feb. 22, when pitchers and catchers go through their first workout.

Toronto will have approximately six weeks to get ready for the start of the season as the club attempts to defend its American League East title. It won't be easy, but the task will become a bit more manageable if several players on the roster bounce back from disappointing 2015 seasons.

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Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, 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.

MLB.com Columnist

Roger Schlueter

Spoils of WAR: Donaldson enjoys rapid ascent

Metrics illustrate how late-blooming slugger has joined Hall of Fame company

Spoils of WAR: Donaldson enjoys rapid ascent

Josh Donaldson is once again in the news. The 2015 American League MVP Award winner has reportedly agreed to a two-year, $29 million deal with the Blue Jays, which will effectively buy out his first two years of arbitration. This is a very lucrative deal for someone reaching arbitration for the first time, but Donaldson isn't just any other player. He's been a top-10 finisher in the AL MVP Award voting three years running, and his unusual career arc makes him arguably the most impressive late-bloomer in baseball history.

There are 24 position players since 1901 who accumulated a WAR of at least 23.0 for their age-27 through age-29 seasons. Of the two dozen, 19 are in the Hall of Fame, with the only exceptions being Barry Bonds and a quartet of active players: Albert Pujols, Alex Rodriguez, Chase Utley and Donaldson. This collection of ballplayers -- led by Babe Ruth -- finds Donaldson occupying the 19th slot, in between arguably the game's greatest second baseman, Joe Morgan, and two of its absolute top-of-the-line center fielders, Tris Speaker and Mickey Mantle. For this age, Donaldson rubs shoulders with players like Lou Gehrig and Hank Aaron, Duke Snider and Willie Mays, Ty Cobb and Mel Ott.

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Roger Schlueter is a columnist for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Donaldson, Harper have MVP hair flip-off on Twitter

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Donaldson, Harper have MVP hair flip-off on Twitter

Josh Donaldson, perhaps reacting to his two-year deal with the Blue Jays on Monday, decided to tweet a picture of himself flipping his flowing locks into the air. Or perhaps he just tweeted the picture of himself flipping his flowing locks into the air because he wanted to tweet a picture of himself flipping his flowing locks into the air. Either way, here it is below:

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Blue Jays had all-onesie Super Bowl watch party

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Blue Jays had all-onesie Super Bowl watch party

Perhaps the best part of the Super Bowl is getting to watch it with all your friends, ideally while eating enough food to make you immobile for days. Of course, after you've consumed your first mountain of wings, you want to be comfortable.

That's why Marcus Stroman and his Blue Jays crew clearly had the best Super Bowl party idea of all time

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Blue Jays come to terms with Floyd

Blue Jays come to terms with Floyd

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays officially agreed to terms with right-hander Gavin Floyd by signing the veteran right-hander to a Major League deal worth $1 million.

News of the signing was reported earlier this week but wasn't made offical until Saturday afternoon. Floyd secured a guaranteed deal and likely has a strong shot of beginning the year in Toronto's bullpen.

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Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, 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.

Report: Chavez wins arb case, to earn $4M

Report: Chavez wins arb case, to earn $4M

Right-hander Jesse Chavez won his arbitration case against the Blue Jays and will earn $4 million this season, according to ESPN. The club filed a $3.6 million offer.

Toronto has not confirmed the deal.

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Cash Kruth is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @cashkruth. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Ex-manager Wedge joins Blue Jays' front office

Ex-manager Wedge joins Blue Jays' front office

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays added another voice to their expanding front office by officially hiring former Major League manager Eric Wedge as a player development adviser on Saturday afternoon.

According to a team statement, Wedge will work closely with president Mark Shapiro, general manager Ross Atkins and player development director Gil Kim on "strategies to enhance the player development system."

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Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, 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.

Gibbons weighs in on Blue Jays' 2016 outlook

Manager gives updates on bullpen roles, injured players and more to season-ticket holders

Gibbons weighs in on Blue Jays' 2016 outlook

TORONTO -- The success of 2015 apparently has earned Blue Jays manager John Gibbons some goodwill in Toronto, as he was treated to a standing ovation at Thursday night's annual season-ticket holder event, The Leadoff.

"What a difference a year makes," Gibbons said in his typical sense of humor.

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Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, 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.

Aardsma signs Minor League deal with Blue Jays

Veteran reliever pitched in 33 games for Atlanta last season

Aardsma signs Minor League deal with Blue Jays

The Blue Jays signed free-agent right-hander David Aardsma to a Minor League contract with an invite to Major League Spring Training on Friday.

Aardsma, 34, appeared in 33 games, all in relief, for the Braves last season, going 1-1 with a 4.70 ERA. The Denver, Colo., native is a veteran of nine Major league seasons, posting a 16-18 record with 69 saves and a 4.27 ERA in 331 games for eight different clubs.

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Shapiro prompts shift to dirt infield

Blue Jays president sees move as step toward natural grass

Shapiro prompts shift to dirt infield

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays still don't have natural grass at Rogers Centre, and whether they ever will remains a highly debated topic, but the installation of a dirt infield is at least a first step.

Toronto announced this week that a dirt infield will be installed in time for the 2016 season. Work is scheduled to begin Monday, and it will involve the excavation of the concrete Rogers Centre floor around the entire infield area.

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Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, 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.

Bautista bat flip immortalized on Topps card

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Bautista bat flip immortalized on Topps card

Back in October, Jose Bautista came as close as humanly possible to stopping the Earth's rotation with an emphatic bat flip that punctuated a Blue Jays comeback in Game 5 of the ALDS:

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Blue Jays add home spring game vs. Rays

Blue Jays add home spring game vs. Rays

The Blue Jays and Rays will square off in Grapefruit League action on March 29 at 1:07 p.m ET, giving Toronto 17 home games in Spring Training this year.

The contest will be at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium in Dunedin, Fla.

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Cash Kruth is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @cashkruth. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rogers Centre to have traditional dirt infield in 2016

Rogers Centre to have traditional dirt infield in 2016

TORONTO -- Rogers Centre will have a different look this season, as the Blue Jays announced on Wednesday that they are installing a traditional dirt infield for the 2016 campaign.

Work is scheduled to begin on Monday, and the field will be ready for the start of the regular season in April. The process involves excavation of the cement floor at Rogers Centre and then layering the affected areas with gravel, sand and clay.

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Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, 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.

Martinez, Hentgen lead 2016 Canadian Hall of Fame class

Former pitching greats to be joined by four other inductees

Martinez, Hentgen lead 2016 Canadian Hall of Fame class

Former pitching greats Dennis Martinez of the Expos and Pat Hentgen of the Blue Jays headline the 2016 class of inductees into the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame.

Martinez, who spent the middle part of his 23-year career recording 100 wins in Montreal, and Hentgen, the 1996 winner of the American League Cy Young Award for his 20-10 season with the Blue Jays, will be inducted on June 18 in St. Marys, Ontario.

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Tom Singer is a reporter for MLB.com and writes an MLBlog Change for a Nickel. He can also be found on Twitter @Tom_Singer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Blue Jays strike deal with Mets, get Ceciliani

Blue Jays strike deal with Mets, get Ceciliani

The Blue Jays on Tuesday acquired outfielder Darrell Ceciliani from the Mets for a player to be named.

Ceciliani, 25, hit .345 with 19 doubles and nine home runs in 70 games at Triple-A Las Vegas in 2015, while batting .206 in 39 games with the Mets.

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Cash Kruth is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @cashkruth. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Shapiro learned valuable lesson back in 2001

While GM in Cleveland, return on dealing Alomar could have netted more

Shapiro learned valuable lesson back in 2001

TORONTO -- Everybody wants at least one do over in life, and Groundhog Day just happens to be an occasion when we can fantasize about what changes would be made if there was an opportunity to re-live a particular moment.

In celebration of this annual event, MLB.com asked front-office executives from around the league one simple question: "What was the worst trade you ever made and what did you learn from it?"

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Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, 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.

Storen best suited for closer's role

After breakout season, Osuna could slide into setup role

Storen best suited for closer's role

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays have several intriguing roster decisions to make when Spring Training gets under way later this month, but perhaps the most interesting one of all will take place at the back end of the bullpen.

The Blue Jays' roster from last season has remained mostly intact, but one of the major additions was right-hander Drew Storen, and now the club must decide how to use him. He has proven ninth-inning experience, but Roberto Osuna did just fine as last season's closer, and the risk here is messing with a recipe that works.

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Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, 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.

Alford represents Blue Jays on Top 100 list

Outfielder turns focus soley to baseball, comes in at No. 42 overall

Alford represents Blue Jays on Top 100 list

TORONTO -- Anthony Alford's decision to pass on football and pursue a full-time career in baseball seems to be paying off as the promising outfielder has cracked MLBPipeline.com's Top 100 Prospects list.

The Blue Jays' lone representative, Alford is ranked No. 42 overall. The former University of Mississippi defensive back didn't crack the preseason rankings a year ago, but his soaring stock can be tied to the fact he is now focused solely on baseball.

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Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, 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.

Blue Jays ink Izturis to Minor League contract

Veteran infielder returns to club with invite to Spring Training

Blue Jays ink Izturis to Minor League contract

The Blue Jays signed infielder Maicer Izturis on Friday to a Minor League contract with an invitation to Spring Training.

Izturis, 35, has not appeared in a Major League game since April 13, 2014, while recovering from left knee surgery and then right shoulder surgery in June 2015. He has been with the Blue Jays organization since '13 after signing a three-year, $10 million contract that offseason.

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Jamal Collier is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @jamalcollier. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Stroman serenades Colabello's dog

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Stroman serenades Colabello's dog

The stars of MLB have spent the winter going to extraordinary, tire-flipping lengths to get into shape for the upcoming season. But the question must be asked: What about their dogs? 162 games of traveling and chasing ballpark foodstuffs is pretty exhausting work for them too, after all -- who will make sure they're prepared for the grind of a long season?

Marcus Stroman, that's who. He even took time out of his workout on Friday to inspire Chris Colabello's dog, while introducing it to the finer points of dabbing.

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Blue Jays release Spring Training broadcast schedule

Blue Jays release Spring Training broadcast schedule

TORONTO -- Blue Jays fans will be able to watch 10 Spring Training games and listen to all 30 games on Sportsnet 590 The Fan and MLB.com when Grapefruit League action gets underway in March.

Sportsnet is set to broadcast 10 games, with the first taking place on March 4 when the Blue Jays host the Orioles in a 1:07 p.m. ET start time at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium. The television schedule also includes the two-game exhibition series in Montreal against the Red Sox on April 1-2.

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Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, 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.

Is Tulo the right man for Blue Jays' leadoff job?

Toronto has options to choose from at top of the order

Is Tulo the right man for Blue Jays' leadoff job?

TORONTO -- Blue Jays manager John Gibbons hasn't made anything official, but it certainly appears as though Toronto will give Troy Tulowitzki another crack at being the leadoff hitter for one of the best lineups in baseball.

Toronto experimented with Tulowitzki in the top spot after he arrived last year in a midseason trade with Colorado, but the move proved to be short-lived. The star shortstop hit leadoff for 26 games before giving way to Ben Revere and returning to the middle of the order.

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Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, 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.

For Pompey, spring will bring 2nd chance

For Pompey, spring will bring 2nd chance

TORONTO -- Dalton Pompey is aware of the opportunity that exists in left field, but unlike a year ago, he's not going to get carried away with the possibility of being an everyday player in the Major Leagues.

Pompey is set to arrive at Spring Training next month in Dunedin, Fla., with an opportunity to compete for the starting job in left, and he will face some stiff competition from Michael Saunders.

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Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, 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.