Blue Jays to regroup with Fowler off market

Seeking outfielder, club must decide whether to go free-agent or trade route

Blue Jays to regroup with Fowler off market

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays went to a contingency plan when they decided to move on from slugger Edwin Encarnacion. Expect a similar move now that the club has missed out on Dexter Fowler.

Fowler was one of Toronto's top priorities this offseason, but he spurned its advances in favor of a five-year deal worth $82.5 million with the Cardinals. He would have been an ideal fit for a team looking for more speed and athleticism, but his decision means the Blue Jays are back to the drawing board.

Continue Reading

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.

Atkins pleased with Meetings progress; still work to do

Blue Jays sign Pearce; OF depth, bullpen, backup catcher remain needs

Atkins pleased with Meetings progress; still work to do

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- The Blue Jays did not make a major splash at this year's Winter Meetings, but even so, general manager Ross Atkins is pleased with the progress that was made.

Toronto's biggest move came on Monday morning, when it signed Steve Pearce to a two-year deal worth $12.5 million. That filled one hole, but multiple upgrades are still required, and the work will continue in the coming days and weeks.

Continue Reading

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.

Blue Jays select Sparkman in Rule 5 Draft

Toronto also picks righty Walby in Minor League portion

Blue Jays select Sparkman in Rule 5 Draft

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- The Blue Jays struck gold during last year's Rule 5 Draft, so they decided to take another low-risk gamble on Thursday morning to see what they could come up with.

Toronto selected right-hander Glenn Sparkman with the 13th overall pick of the Rule 5 Draft. Sparkman returned from Tommy John surgery last season and posted a 5.22 ERA over 16 starts for the Royals' organization.

Continue Reading

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.

Minor Leaguer Loficial suspended

Three Minor League players were suspended by the Commissioner's Office on Friday for violating the Minor League Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.

Brewers farmhand Phil Bickford and Marlins Minor League outfielder Casey Soltis each received 50-game suspensions following second violations of testing positive for a drug of abuse. Blue Jays Minor League right-hander Pedro Loficial was suspended for 72 games after testing positive for metabolites of Stanozolol, a performance-enhancing substance.

Continue Reading

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.

Pearce brings gritty all-out style to Toronto

Versatile outfielder-infielder playing for fourth AL East club

Pearce brings gritty all-out style to Toronto

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- Steve Pearce knows all too well how heated the rivalries can get in the American League East, but he'll have a different perspective of the bitter feelings in 2017.

Pearce made the jump from Baltimore to Toronto earlier this week when he signed a two-year deal worth $12.5 million. There's no love loss between those two organizations, with feuds dating back to 2012 and the clash became even more intense during this year's AL Wild Card Game.

Continue Reading

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.

Appreciating Tony Batista and his bizarre stance

|
Appreciating Tony Batista and his bizarre stance

It's been nearly 10 years since Tony Batista put on a big league uniform. Ten years and, inexplicably, zero retrospective essays on his wonderfully weird batting stance. No documentaries. Not even a tell-all spoken word album narrated by Tony himself.

Well, today, on his 43rd birthday, it's time. It's time to admire the man who had one of strangest batting stances in baseball history.

Continue Reading on Cut4

Blue Jays reaffirm Encarnacion deal unlikely

Blue Jays reaffirm Encarnacion deal unlikely

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- The rumors surrounding Edwin Encarnacion and the Blue Jays just won't seem to go away, but the club hasn't changed its stance that a deal between these two sides is highly unlikely.

Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins once again poured cold water over the notion that Encarnacion is still a viable candidate to return. Atkins' comments came less than an hour after a report surfaced on Wednesday afternoon that Toronto was a finalist for Encarnacion alongside Cleveland.

Continue Reading

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.

Blue Jays add pitching depth with Oberholtzer

Atkins says left-hander could work in relief or as starter

Blue Jays add pitching depth with Oberholtzer

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- The Blue Jays added a potential piece to their bullpen on Wednesday afternoon by signing left-hander Brett Oberholtzer to a Minor League deal with an invitation to Spring Training.

Oberholtzer spent the first three years of his Major League career as a starter, but he transitioned to the bullpen in 2016. He pitched for the Angels and Phillies, but he struggled with a 5.89 ERA over 70 1/3 innings, with all but two of his 37 appearances in relief.

Continue Reading

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.

Blue Jays aren't looking to part with Stroman

Right-hander rumored to be drawing interest from Rockies

Blue Jays aren't looking to part with Stroman

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- Blue Jays starter Marcus Stroman reportedly has caught the eye of the Rockies' organization, but a return of outfielder Charlie Blackmon will not be enough to get a deal done.

MLB.com's Jon Paul Morosi reported on Wednesday afternoon that Toronto isn't willing to move Stroman in a one-for-one deal for Blackmon. That falls in line with the Blue Jays' previous stance of wanting to keep their current starting five intact for 2017.

Continue Reading

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.

Blue Jays meet with Bautista's agent

Blue Jays meet with Bautista's agent

NATIONAL HARBOR, MD. -- The Blue Jays apparently haven't closed the door on re-signing Jose Bautista. The club had an in-person meeting with Bautista's camp on Tuesday at the Winter Meetings for the first time since February.

According to multiple industry sources, the meeting involved conversations about not only Bautista but also free-agent catcher Chris Iannetta, who has the same agent. Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins did not specifically comment on the meeting but did say that he has touched base with all of his team's current free agents -- a group that of course includes Bautista.

Continue Reading

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.

Atkins: Blue Jays want to give Gibbons extension

Atkins: Blue Jays want to give Gibbons extension

NATIONAL HARBOR, MD. -- General manager Ross Atkins reiterated his stance on Tuesday afternoon that the Blue Jays intend to sign manager John Gibbons to a contract extension.

Gibbons is set to enter the final year of his contract, but Toronto remains committed to extending the deal beyond 2017. Atkins said on Tuesday afternoon that the talks initially were scheduled to take place this week, but Gibbons had to miss Major League Baseball's annual Winter Meetings because of the flu.

Continue Reading

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.

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.

Continue Reading

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.

Blue Jays land versatile Pearce on 2-year deal

Vet can platoon at 1B, fill in at 2B, 3B or corner OF

Blue Jays land versatile Pearce on 2-year deal

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- Blue Jays general manager Ross Atkins began the offseason by speaking openly about a desire for his team to become younger, athletic and more versatile. He checked off one of those boxes on Monday morning by signing super utility man Steve Pearce.

Toronto kicked off Day 1 of Major League Baseball's annual Winter Meetings by giving Pearce a two-year deal worth $12.5 million. He is expected to platoon at first base with Justin Smoak, but he also could be used in left field and possibly even elsewhere in the infield on occasion.

Continue Reading

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.

Atkins: Pearce deal part of non-Edwin strategy

Blue Jays sign versatile vet, likely signaling end of slugger's Toronto tenure

Atkins: Pearce deal part of non-Edwin strategy

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- If the writing wasn't on the wall before, it certainly is now. The Blue Jays appear to have moved on from star slugger Edwin Encarnacion.

Toronto general manager Ross Atkins has been saying for weeks that Encarnacion's return was less likely following the team's decision to sign free-agent slugger Kendrys Morales. It became even more improbable Monday morning, when the Blue Jays added Steve Pearce with a two-year deal worth $12.5 million.

Continue Reading

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.

Martin, Osuna to join Stroman in WBC

Veteran catcher to play infield for Team Canada

Martin, Osuna to join Stroman in WBC

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. -- Russell Martin is going to suit up for Team Canada at the upcoming World Baseball Classic, but it will be as an infielder instead of as a catcher.

Martin expressed a desire to play shortstop during the 2013 WBC, but his request was not granted. At the time, he wanted to avoid learning a new pitching staff while trying to do the same thing in the big leagues prior to his first season in Pittsburgh.

Continue Reading

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.

New teammates Pearce and Happ are well acquainted

|
New teammates Pearce and Happ are well acquainted

Steve Pearce is the newest Blue Jay, but he's already well-acquainted with one of his new teammates. The longtime Oriole has faced J.A. Happ more than any other pitcher and the results have been tremendous for Pearce.

In 33 plate appearances against Happ, Pearce has compiled a .357/.424/.967 slashline with five home runs. Although Pearce is known to have a bit of pop, he has only 66 career homers. This means 7.6% (!) of his home run output has come at the expense of Happ.

Continue Reading on Cut4

Stroman intends to pitch for USA in Classic

Stroman intends to pitch for USA in Classic

Blue Jays right-hander Marcus Stroman announced on Saturday that he plans to pitch for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic.

Stroman, who was eligible to pitch for the United States or Puerto Rico, told reporters on Friday at the David Ortiz Celebrity Golf Classic that he intended to pitch in the tournament but didn't say for which team. Stroman's mother was born and raised in Puerto Rico. Stroman was born in Medford, N.Y., and attended Duke University.

Continue Reading

Quinn Roberts is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Photo: Devon Travis gets custom Raptors jersey

|
Photo: Devon Travis gets custom Raptors jersey

The Blue Jays and Raptors are tight. Sharing a city and being the only Canadian teams in their respective sports leagues, they kind of have to be. So, when Marcus Stroman visited Air Canada Centre, he got front-row seats and a turn at the T-shirt cannon. When Devon Travis visited Saturday night to watch the Raptors top the Atlanta Hawks, he got his very own custom jersey from The Raptor itself.

Continue Reading on Cut4

Blue Jays tender deals to all arb-eligible players

Blue Jays tender deals to all arb-eligible players

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays tendered contracts to all four of their arbitration-eligible players prior to Friday night's 8 ET deadline.

Right-hander Marcus Stroman, infielder Darwin Barney, outfielder Ezequiel Carrera and lefty Aaron Loup all remain under club control. Toronto also announced that first baseman Chris Colabello and utility man Andy Burns cleared waivers and were outrighted off the 40-man roster.

Continue Reading

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.

Stroman hoping Encarnacion, Bautista return

Blue Jays ace loves club's chances with or without sluggers

Stroman hoping Encarnacion, Bautista return

PUNTA CANA, Dominican Republic -- Blue Jays right-hander Marcus Stroman has some familiar company at David Ortiz's charity golf tournament this weekend. Two hitters who have backed him throughout his career are also in attendance -- Edwin Encarnacion and Jose Bautista.

But unlike Stroman, who remains with Toronto, Encarnacion and Bautista are two of the biggest bats on the free-agent market.

Continue Reading

Ian Browne has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2002. Follow him on Twitter @IanMBrowne and Facebook. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Donaldson, Sanchez honored by Toronto writers

Donaldson, Sanchez honored by Toronto writers

TORONTO -- Josh Donaldson and Aaron Sanchez were the big winners when the Toronto chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America announced its annual awards on Thursday afternoon.

Donaldson was named the Blue Jays' Player of the Year for the second consecutive season while Sanchez picked up the Pitcher of the Year and Most Improved honors. Rule 5 pick-turned-key-set-up-reliever Joe Biagini was unanimously voted as Toronto's Rookie of the Year.

Continue Reading

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.

Peace & glove: Owners, players reach CBA deal

New agreement includes change to home-field advantage in World Series

Peace & glove: Owners, players reach CBA deal

IRVING, Texas -- Major League Baseball's players and owners reached a tentative five-year Collective Bargaining Agreement through the 2021 season on Wednesday night. The parties will follow up today with a formal document, which then must be ratified by representatives of both sides. 

At 8:40 p.m. ET, an assortment of happy players, owners, lawyers and staffers poured from meeting rooms to exchange handshakes and hugs. That's how quickly 36 hours of round-the-clock negotiations ended, nearly four hours before today's deadline of 12:01 a.m. ET to reach a deal. Short of an agreement, the sport was faced with the best-case scenario of an extension or owners could have imposed a lockout.

Continue Reading

Richard Justice is a columnist for MLB.com. You can follow him on Twitter @richardjustice. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Jim Callis

The Next Big Leaguers: Blue Jays' Alford

A team-by-team look at future key contributors who starred in the 2016 Arizona Fall League

The Next Big Leaguers: Blue Jays' Alford

The Arizona Fall League always is loaded with talent, and it was stronger than usual in 2016. In the initial installment of MLBPipeline.com's "The Next Big Leaguers," which premieres Tuesday, we focused on five prospects: Dodgers first baseman Cody Bellinger, Twins shortstop Nick Gordon, Cubs outfielder Eloy Jimenez, Red Sox infielder Yoan Moncada and Yankees shortstop Gleyber Torres.

We could have spotlighted many more promising prospects if not limited by time constraints, and below we'll do exactly that.

Continue Reading

Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Jim Callis

Blue Jays' Alford among Top 25 Fall League prospects

Blue Jays' Alford among Top 25 Fall League prospects

While the most talented team doesn't always win the championship, it did in the Arizona Fall League. The Mesa Solar Sox wrapped up the East Division crown on the final day of the regular season before rolling to an easy victory in the AFL's one-game playoff for its first title since 2003.

Mesa had the league's deepest lineup, as evidenced by its seven hitters who rank among the AFL's 20 best prospects below. The Solar Sox had star power with outfielders Eloy Jimenez (Cubs) and Bradley Zimmer (Indians) and second baseman Ian Happ (Cubs), all of whom sit in the 20s on MLBPipeline.com's Top 100 Prospects list. They also had emerging talents such as shortstop Yu-Cheng Chang and outfielder Greg Allen, who have been overshadowed in a deep Indians system, and league home run leader Brian Anderson (Marlins No. 4 prospect), who had support for making our list.

Continue Reading

Jim Callis is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow @jimcallisMLB on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Quantrill joining Baseball Canada's Wall of Excellence

Former Blue Jays reliever to become ninth member

Quantrill joining Baseball Canada's Wall of Excellence

TORONTO -- Former Blue Jays reliever Paul Quantrill will be named to Baseball Canada's Wall of Excellence during their national team awards banquet and fundraiser Jan. 14 in Toronto.

Quantrill, who posted a 3.83 ERA over 14 seasons, will become the ninth member of Baseball Canada's Wall of Excellence. The list includes Russell Martin, Larry Walker, Justin Morneau, Joey Votto, Ryan Dempster, Jason Bay, Jeff Francis and Ernie Whitt.

Continue Reading

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.

Bullpen among areas of need for Blue Jays

With departure of Cecil, acquiring left-handed reliever becomes important

Bullpen among areas of need for Blue Jays

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays have a lot of work to do this offseason, and they can add another item to their to-do list after left-hander Brett Cecil agreed to a four-year deal with the Cardinals over the weekend.

Cecil's departure creates another void in a bullpen that faces plenty of uncertainty this offseason. Closer Roberto Osuna and veteran right-hander Jason Grilli are the only two relievers with guaranteed jobs, and the lack of viable internal candidates should be cause for concern.

Continue Reading

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.

Biagini gets high five from Fallon

|
Biagini gets high five from Fallon

Anybody that attends a taping of "The Tonight Show" with Jimmy Fallon at his NBC studio in New York has an opportunity to receive a high five from Fallon when he jogs out into the crowd at the beginning of each episode. 

This offer is extended to everybody except Blue Jays' reliever Joe Biagini, who attended a recent taping with a choice aisle seat and was the recipient of a totally botched high five attempt from Fallon -- which led to the events of Friday night's taping.

Continue Reading on Cut4

Blue Jays expect big things from Morales

Toronto announces signing of slugger, who impressed with numbers in pitchers' parks

Blue Jays expect big things from Morales

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays' first big move of the offseason became official on Friday afternoon when the club announced Kendrys Morales' three-year deal worth $33 million.

Morales is expected to become Toronto's primary designated hitter, but general manager Ross Atkins did raise the possibility of occasional playing time at first base or in the outfield. Morales is coming off a year in which he hit 30 home runs with 93 RBIs in 154 games for the Royals.

Continue Reading

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.

Blue Jays protect Urena, Alford from Rule 5 Draft

Lefty Borucki also added to 40-man roster

Blue Jays protect Urena, Alford from Rule 5 Draft

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays protected a pair of their top prospects from the upcoming Rule 5 Draft by adding shortstop Richard Urena and outfielder Anthony Alford to the 40-man roster on Friday evening.

Left-hander Ryan Borucki also was added to the 40-man roster for the same reason. Left-hander Angel Perdomo, right-hander Francisco Rios and reliever Adonys Cardona were among the notable pitchers left exposed, but the club is likely banking on each being too far away from the Majors to be picked.

Continue Reading

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.

MLB.com Columnist

Hal Bodley

Blue Jays' WS hump could be history in 2017

Toronto poised to make good on promise after falling in ALCS in consecutive years

Blue Jays' WS hump could be history in 2017

For Toronto Blue Jays fans, Joe Carter's legendary home run that won the 1993 World Series seems eons ago.

The image of that historic blast resurfaced when the Blue Jays ended their 22-year postseason drought in 2015 and returned again in '16. But making it to the World Series has become a huge hump in the journey they haven't been able to overcome.

Continue Reading

Hal Bodley, dean of American baseball writers, is the senior correspondent for MLB.com. Follow him @halbodley on Twitter. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.