Norris leads Blue Jays' Top 100 Prospects quartet

Toronto's ranked talent on track to contribute significantly in 2015

Norris leads Blue Jays' Top 100 Prospects quartet

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays have four players who cracked MLB.com's list of the Top 100 Prospects, and three of them are expected to have major roles during the upcoming season.

Daniel Norris (No. 17), Dalton Pompey (No. 43), Aaron Sanchez (No. 44) and Jeff Hoffman (No. 87) earned spots on the annual rankings. The group represents the next wave of talent for Toronto, but it's as much about the present as it is the future.

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Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Blue Jays ink Santiago to Minor League pact

Veteran infielder gets invite to Spring Training, will compete for utility role

Blue Jays ink Santiago to Minor League pact

The Blue Jays have signed veteran infielder Ramon Santiago to a Minor League deal with an invitation to Major League Spring Training, the club announced on Friday.

Santiago, 35, should compete for a job as a utility infielder with Toronto. He can play shortstop, second base and third. Other players in the mix for a similar role include Maicer Izturis, Steve Tolleson, Ryan Goins and Munenori Kawasaki.

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

Pompey No. 7 on MLB Pipeline's Top 10 OF Prospects list

Twins' Buxton leads list again, followed by Pederson (Dodgers), Soler (Cubs), Winker (Reds)

Pompey No. 7 on MLB Pipeline's Top 10 OF Prospects list

MLBPipeline.com's 2015 Top 100 Prospects list will be unveiled on Friday, Jan. 30, on MLB.com, with the Top 50 revealed during a one-hour show on MLB Network at 9 p.m. ET. Leading up to that, MLBPipeline.com takes a look at baseball's Top 10 prospects at each position.

The top 10 outfielders list annually has some of the most athletic and exciting prospects in the Minor Leagues, and this year is no different. Though half of the players on last year's preseason list lost their rookie eligibility in 2014, the other half returns, led by last year's No. 1 overall prospect, Byron Buxton.

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

Inbox: Did Blue Jays consider re-signing Janssen?

Beat reporter Gregor Chisholm answers Toronto fans' questions

Inbox: Did Blue Jays consider re-signing Janssen?

Why didn't the Blue Jays make more of an effort to re-sign Casey Janssen? I could understand if he got a long-term contract, but he went to the Nationals for one year and $5 million.
-- Mike D., Moncton, New Brunswick

Janssen's departure had basically been a foregone conclusion since the end of the season. The veteran reliever entered the final week of September knowing it would his final time wearing a Blue Jays uniform, and even though it took Janssen a long time to sign, the overall outlook never really changed.

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Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Blue Jays president Beeston signs extension, to retire after season

Blue Jays president Beeston signs extension, to retire after season

Paul Beeston will remain the Toronto Blue Jays' president and CEO through the end of the 2015 season.

Rogers Communications made the announcement Monday night that Beeston signed a one-year contract extension with the organization, but with the caveat that he will retire at the end of the season. The announcement ends the pursuit of Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette for Beeston's position.

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

Loup's role in 'pen amplified after offseason shuffle

With Janssen on free-agent market, left-hander could fill closer vacancy

Loup's role in 'pen amplified after offseason shuffle

TORONTO -- Aaron Loup had another effective season out of the Blue Jays' bullpen in 2014, but if there was one cause for concern, it was his occasional loss of command.

Loup walked more than twice as many batters last year as he did in 2013. The lack of control came as a surprise, but it's also something he appeared to solve during the second half of the year.

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Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Travis No. 6 on MLB Pipeline's Top 10 2B Prospects list

Braves' Peraza heads list, followed by White Sox's Johnson, Rockies' Wall

Travis No. 6 on MLB Pipeline's Top 10 2B Prospects list

MLBPipeline.com's 2015 Top 100 Prospects list will be unveiled on Friday on MLB.com, with the Top 50 revealed during a one-hour show on MLB Network at 9 p.m. ET. Leading up to that, MLBPipeline.com takes a look at the Top 10 prospects at each position.

Graduations to the Major Leagues have taken a heavy toll on this list in the past year. Six of the second basemen on last year's preseason Top 10, including the top four, have lost their rookie eligibility, creating room for several newcomers.

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

Blue Jays find plenty of fans in BC

Final Winter Tour stops include baseball clinic, autograph session

Blue Jays find plenty of fans in BC

During the last two events of the 2015 Blue Jays Winter Tour, the team managed to excite and give back to many of the Blue Jays fans out on the west coast of Canada. On Friday evening, the team hosted a baseball clinic at the Richmond Olympic Oval in partnership with Baseball BC, and on Saturday they held an autograph session at Metropolis at Metrotown in Burnaby.

At the baseball clinic, around 200 kids from around Greater Vancouver learned lessons from Russell Martin, Aaron Sanchez, Drew Hutchison, Marcus Stroman and Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar. The instruction included hitting tips from Martin, pitching advice from the three young hurlers and how to turn a double play from the 10-time Gold Glove winner Alomar.

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CJ Pentland is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Lyle Spencer

Pieces in place for Blue Jays to make run in 2015

Martin, Donaldson could push talented club into postseason

Pieces in place for Blue Jays to make run in 2015

Aaron Sanchez -- the young right-hander from Barstow, Calif., with the upper-90s fastball and high ceiling -- wasn't aware until recently of the fascination Toronto's baseball team holds north of the border in hockey country.

"We are the only Major League team that plays on national television every night," Sanchez said during a stop in Alberta a few days ago on the Blue Jays' Winter Tour 2015. "It is special to have a country behind us, and it is definitely motivating knowing who we are representing."

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

Blue Jays visit Vancouver to support worthy cause

Minor League squad hosts event for Vancouver Canadians Baseball Foundation

Blue Jays visit Vancouver to support worthy cause

The final stop of the Blue Jays Winter Tour kicked off in Vancouver on Friday, and the afternoon's festivities saw the coming together of Canada's only two professional baseball teams. The Vancouver Canadians, the short-season A affiliate of the Jays, hosted their fifth annual Scotiabank Hot Stove Luncheon at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver to support the Vancouver Canadians Baseball Foundation, with Jays players and executives coming out to support the cause.

Blue Jays players Russell Martin, Drew Hutchison, Marcus Stroman, and Aaron Sanchez, along with Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar and Blue Jays president and CEO Paul Beeston, were all in attendance at the sold out flagship event.

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Blue Jays end Calgary tour with luncheon

Blue Jays end Calgary tour with luncheon

CALGARY, Alberta -- The Toronto Blue Jays concluded the Calgary leg of Winter Tour 2015 presented by TD Canada on Thursday, taking part in the Calgary Baseball Luncheon hosted by Borden Ladner Gervais LLP at the Fairmont Palliser.

Blue Jays players Marcus Stroman, Drew Hutchison, Aaron Sanchez and Kevin Pillar -- as well as Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar -- attended the luncheon, which was held in support of the Okotoks Dawgs Youth Academy and youth baseball in Alberta. Master of ceremonies for the afternoon was Jamie Campbell of Sportsnet.

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Jonathan Hodgson is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

MLB.com Columnist

Jim Callis

Pentecost No. 10 on MLB Pipeline's Top 10 C Prospects list

Red Sox's Swihart sits atop list, followed by Rangers' Alfaro and Cubs' Schwarber

Pentecost No. 10 on MLB Pipeline's Top 10 C Prospects list

MLBPipeline.com's 2015 Top 100 Prospects list will be unveiled on Friday, Jan. 30, on MLB.com, with the Top 50 revealed during a one-hour show on MLB Network at 9 p.m. ET. Leading up to that, MLBPipeline.com takes a look at baseball's Top 10 prospects at each position.

Though only one catcher (Blake Swihart of the Red Sox) fits in the top 40 spots on MLBPipeline.com's upcoming 2015 Top 100 Prospects list, talent behind the plate actually runs deep. The Minors are teeming with backstops who have the tools to contribute offensively and defensively in the big leagues in the near future. This list could see a lot of turnover a year from now, as Christian Bethancourt figures to be the Braves' starter and Swihart, Kevin Plawecki (Mets) and J.T. Realmuto (Marlins) could be playing regularly in the Majors by season's end.

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

Norris No. 3 on MLB Pipeline's Top 10 LHP Prospects list

Dodgers' 18-year-old Urias leads list, followed by White Sox's Rodon, Jays' Norris

Norris No. 3 on MLB Pipeline's Top 10 LHP Prospects list

MLBPipeline.com's 2015 Top 100 Prospects list will be unveiled on Friday, Jan. 30, on MLB.com, with the Top 50 revealed during a one-hour show on MLB Network at 9 p.m. ET. Leading up to that, MLBPipeline.com takes a look at baseball's Top 10 prospects at each position.

Though all of the left-handers who ranked on last year's preseason Top 10 are still eligible to be considered for inclusion this year, there are still several new faces on this list. Julio Urias, Henry Owens and Andrew Heaney are the holdovers, albeit with their order reversed from last year.

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

Jays fans get surprised with Opening Day tickets

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Jays fans get surprised with Opening Day tickets

The Blue Jays are in the midst of a winter tour in which they're visiting fans in various cities throughout Canada. On Wednesday, they were in Calgary -- the land of blue skies and Jamaican Olympic glory

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Blue Jays' Winter Tour impacts fans, players

Blue Jays' Winter Tour impacts fans, players

CALGARY, Alberta -- The Toronto Blue Jays kicked off the Calgary leg of Winter Tour 2015 presented by TD on Tuesday, visiting patients at the Alberta Children's Hospital, followed by an evening autograph session at CrossIron Mills Mall.

Blue Jays in attendance included pitchers Marcus Stroman, Drew Hutchison and Aaron Sanchez and outfielder Kevin Pillar. Hall of Famer Roberto Alomar and Jamie Campbell, host of "Blue Jays Connected" on Sportsnet, were also on hand.

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Jonathan Hodgson is a contributor to bluejays.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Blue Jays' roster has distinctly Canadian feel in '15

Starting nine includes Martin, Pompey, Saunders

Blue Jays' roster has distinctly Canadian feel in '15

TORONTO -- There has been a longstanding partnership between the Blue Jays and Baseball Canada, but never before have the two sides been intertwined quite like this.

When Opening Day arrives on April 6, the Blue Jays project to have three Canadian-born players in their everyday lineup. Russell Martin, Michael Saunders and Dalton Pompey not only have secure jobs, but they figure to be prominent pieces on a team with postseason aspirations.

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Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Autograph session a family affair for Pompey

Blue Jays outfielder visited by parents during Winter Tour event in Toronto

Autograph session a family affair for Pompey

TORONTO -- It's so surreal that it is still a little bit like the Pompeys are living a dream.

As Ken and Valerie Pompey watched their eldest son, Blue Jays center fielder Dalton, sign autographs for hundreds of fans at the Eaton Centre on Saturday as a part of Toronto's fifth annual Winter Tour, the family reminisced about a time not too long ago when they were the ones in line trying to do the same.

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Alexis Brudnicki is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Jays prospect actually lives in van down by river

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Jays prospect actually lives in van down by river

Sure, Ryan Dempster can talk the Chris Farley talk, but can he actually walk the walk? Blue Jays prospect Daniel Norris, unlike Dempster, actually lives in a van that could certainly be described as "down by the river."

But his van (named Shaggy, in case you were wondering) doesn't stay in one place. According to MiLB.com's Josh Jackson:

…the 21-year-old left-hander [is] … on a slow journey from his home in Johnson City, Tennessee, to Dunedin, Florida, for Spring Training, stopping and surfing as often as he can. And, yes, living out of his 1978 Volkswagen van as he goes.
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Dickey looking forward to working with Martin

Knuckleballer emphasizes importance of getting reps with new backstop

Dickey looking forward to working with Martin

TORONTO -- For the third time in three years, R.A. Dickey will arrive at Spring Training with the goal of helping a new face learn how to catch his trademark knuckleball.

J.P. Arencibia and Erik Kratz previously auditioned for the role, but in the end it was Josh Thole who ended up with the bulk of the workload. The focus is about to shift yet again, but this time it's with a catcher who has a proven track record of success.

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Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Arbitration figures exchanged with Donaldson, Valencia

Blue Jays agree to contract terms for 2015 with Saunders, Estrada, Cecil

Arbitration figures exchanged with Donaldson, Valencia

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays appear headed to salary arbitration for the first time since 1997 after they were unable to reach agreements with Josh Donaldson and Danny Valencia prior to Friday's deadline.

Teams and players had until Friday to submit their salary figures for a possible arbitration hearing. Negotiations are permitted to continue after that, but the Blue Jays have a club policy of not completing one-year deals once the numbers have been exchanged.

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Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Stroman needs a little help reaching the soap

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Stroman needs a little help reaching the soap

Marcus Stroman stands 5-foot-9. And while that doesn't sound very short if you're the average American male, only six pitchers played in the Majors last year who were that height or shorter, with Tim Collins being the shortest of all at 5-foot-7. 

But Stroman doesn't let his smaller stature get in the way. After all, in his rookie season, Stroman went 11-6 with a 3.65 ERA and throws this absolutely devastating sinker. 

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Blue Jays visit students to open Winter Tour

Bautista, Dickey among speakers to emphasize importance of education

Blue Jays visit students to open Winter Tour

OAKVILLE, Ontario -- The Blue Jays kicked off their fifth annual Winter Tour on Friday afternoon with an incredibly warm welcome and an extremely enjoyable visit to a very enthusiastic Joshua Creek Public School.

Upon their arrival, after officially opening the tour with media availability at Rogers Centre, Jose Bautista, R.A. Dickey, Dalton Pompey, Todd Redmond, Aaron Loup and fan-favourite mascot Ace each received a loud ovation from students of all ages as they took the stage to field some very thoughtful questions, many surrounding the event's theme focused around literacy.

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Alexis Brudnicki is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Blue Jays are big hit at Ronald McDonald House

Players take time to visit, serve meals as part of Winter Tour

Blue Jays are big hit at Ronald McDonald House

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays did their best to put some big league cooking skills on display on Friday night, finishing out the first day of their fifth annual Winter Tour by cooking and serving dinner to many of the residents at their local Ronald McDonald House.

Before serving up a well-balanced meal as a part of the Home for Dinner program and presenting a cheque from the Jays Care Foundation for $10,000 to the Ronald McDonald House Toronto School, Jose Bautista, R.A. Dickey, Dalton Pompey, Todd Redmond, Aaron Loup and mascot Ace got a chance to tour the facility and meet several of the families currently living there.

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Alexis Brudnicki is a contributor to MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Bautista: Blue Jays primed for success

Bautista: Blue Jays primed for success

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays' offseason makeover isn't necessarily over, and even though some parts of the roster remain a work in progress, Jose Bautista is confident in the changes that already have been made.

Toronto made lots of headlines in November by signing free-agent catcher Russell Martin and acquiring All-Star third baseman Josh Donaldson from Oakland. Other early moves included sending J.A. Happ to Seattle for Michael Saunders and trading Adam Lind to Milwaukee for right-hander Marco Estrada.

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Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Blue Jays re-sign Kawasaki to Minor League deal

Blue Jays re-sign Kawasaki to Minor League deal

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays re-signed infielder Munenori Kawasaki to a Minor League contract with an invitation to Spring Training on Friday afternoon.

Kawasaki likely will begin the year at Triple-A Buffalo, but he'll also have an opportunity to compete for a job at second base. Kawasaki is expected to be in the mix alongside Ryan Goins, Maicer Izturis, Steve Tolleson and prospect Devon Travis.

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Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Cecil, Blue Jays avoid arbitration with 1-year, $2.475 million deal

Cecil, Blue Jays avoid arbitration with 1-year, $2.475 million deal

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays avoided arbitration with Brett Cecil by signing the left-hander to a one-year, $2.475 million contract on Thursday afternoon.

Cecil had another strong season out of the bullpen for Toronto in 2014. He went 2-3 with five saves while posting a 2.70 ERA in 66 appearances.

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Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Blue Jays sign to Dirks to Minor League contract

Outfielder gets invite to Spring Training, will compete for backup outfield job

Blue Jays sign to Dirks to Minor League contract

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays added some depth to their outfield on Thursday afternoon by signing Andy Dirks to a Minor League contract with an invitation to Spring Training.

Toronto claimed Dirks off waivers from Detroit in October, but he wasn't tendered a contract and became a free agent on Dec. 2. At the time, Dirks was projected to earn upwards of $1.5 million in salary arbitration.

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Gregor Chisholm is a reporter for MLB.com. Read his blog, North of the Border, and follow him on Twitter @gregorMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Rest assured, Munenori Kawasaki is coming back

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Rest assured, Munenori Kawasaki is coming back

If you're anything like us, you wept for days in October when Munenori Kawasaki became a free agent. The thought of an MLB season without Kawasaki was as bleak as the thought of a summer without sunlight. We couldn't bear to go on.

But rejoice, good friends -- Kawasaki returns! The Blue Jays announced Friday that they had signed Kawasaki to a Minor League contract, which includes an invitation to Major League Spring Training.

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Blue Jays claim reliever West from Rangers

Blue Jays claim reliever West from Rangers

The Blue Jays claimed right-hander Matt West off waivers from the Rangers on Wednesday and designated righty Cory Burns for assignment.

The 25-year-old West, who converted from the infield in 2011, made his Major League debut for the Rangers last season. He allowed three earned runs over four innings (6.75 ERA) in three relief appearances.

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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.