Adding relievers to mix remains a top priority for Toronto

Adding relievers to mix remains a top priority for Toronto

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays' bullpen remains a work in progress as the club continues to search for ways to improve what became a noticeable area of weakness throughout the 2014 season.

Toronto is expected to add at least a couple of relievers in the coming weeks and one of those will have to be a closer if -- as expected -- free agent Casey Janssen doesn't return to the organization.

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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 claim Oramas, sign Albers to Minors deal

Blue Jays claim Oramas, sign Albers to Minors deal

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays added pitching depth Friday by claiming left-hander Juan Oramas off waivers from the Padres and signing left-hander Andrew Albers to a Minor League contract.

Oramas was in San Diego's system for eight seasons and compiled a 47-29 record with a 3.40 ERA in 158 games, including 111 starts. He spent most of 2014 at Triple-A El Paso and posted a 5.61 ERA in the hitter-friendly Pacific Coast League.

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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.

Well-traveled Leiper assists young players in South Africa

Blue Jays first-base coach offers instruction at annual African Elite Camp

Well-traveled Leiper assists young players in South Africa

TORONTO -- Baseball has taken Blue Jays first-base coach Tim Leiper all over the world, and this offseason an opportunity to help grow the game even more brought him to the unlikely destination of Johannesburg, South Africa.

South Africa isn't exactly known for its love of baseball, but for the past four years, it has served as the host country for the African Elite Camp. The annual event is the largest baseball development project in Africa and brings the continent's top players together with Major League coaches and instructors.

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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.

Inbox: On Melky, Drabek and potential moves to come

Beat reporter Gregor Chisholm answers questions from Blue Jays fans

Inbox: On Melky, Drabek and potential moves to come

Melky Cabrera didn't end up getting the five-year deal he was looking for, so why didn't the Blue Jays make more of an effort to bring him back? He was a great fit and it seemed like he really enjoyed Toronto.
-- Robert W., Waterloo, Ontario

Cabrera's market never really developed as expected, but perhaps that shouldn't be surprising. His value took a hit when he received a qualifying offer from the Blue Jays, because there are a lot of teams that balk at parting with a first-round Draft pick to sign a free agent. Combine that with the fact that Cabrera was suspended in 2012 for elevated levels of testosterone, as well as his somewhat inconsistent track record, and it was enough to keep some organizations away.

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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 agree to Minor League deal with Barton

Veteran could compete with Smoak for Toronto's starting job at first base

Blue Jays agree to Minor League deal with Barton

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays signed first baseman Daric Barton to a Minor League contract with an invitation to Spring Training on Tuesday afternoon.

Barton has spent most of the past three seasons in Oakland's organization at Triple-A Sacramento. The 29-year-old has appeared in parts of eight years at the big league level, but he hasn't been a regular starter since 2010.

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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.

MLB.com Columnist

Jim Callis

Callis on prospect Hoffman's ceiling

Jim Callis responds to fans' questions about baseball's top future stars

Callis on prospect Hoffman's ceiling

At MLBPipeline.com, we've been busy making our lists and checking them twice. There was a lot of trade activity at the Winter Meetings, and every time a deal happens, we adjust the appropriate team Top 20 lists at Prospect Watch. We're still waiting for the Dodgers' moves to send Matt Kemp to the Padres and acquire Jimmy Rollins from the Phillies to become official, and then we'll update those Top 20s as well.

Our next big project is to determine our Top 100 Prospects list for 2015. We're in the preliminary stages of putting those rankings together and will unveil them in the second half of January. This is my last Pipeline Inbox before Hanukkah and Christmas, so happy holidays to everyone!

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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.

Picture clearer for Blue Jays after Meetings

Trades might be best avenue for Anthopoulos to snag relievers, second baseman

Picture clearer for Blue Jays after Meetings

SAN DIEGO -- The Blue Jays' contingent departed the Winter Meetings on Thursday morning without anything to show for the trip to the West Coast, but the hope is that there's more clarity about how to move forward.

Toronto is clearly focused on upgrading its bullpen, but when a number of relievers went off the board this week -- David Robertson signed with the White Sox, while Pat Neshek and Luke Gregerson joined the Astros -- the Blue Jays declined to get involved.

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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 three to Minors deals with invites

Blue Jays sign three to Minors deals with invites

The Blue Jays signed three players -- right-handed pitcher Wilton Lopez, outfielder Caleb Gindl and infielder Jake Fox -- to Minor League contracts Friday, with each receiving invites to Major League Spring Training.

Fox, 32, spent parts of four seasons in the Majors from 2007-11 with the Cubs, A's and Orioles. His best season came in 2009 with Chicago, where he played in 82 games and hit .259/.311/.468 with 11 homers and 44 RBIs.

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

2014 Rule 5 Draft results

The final day of the Winter Meetings began with the annual Rule 5 Draft. Teams were only able to make a selection if it had space on its 40-man roster.

ROUND 1
1. Arizona Diamondbacks: C Oscar Hernandez, Rays
2. Colorado Rockies: IF Mark Canha, Marlins
3. Texas Rangers: OF Delino DeShields Jr., Astros
4. Houston Astros: RHP Jason Garcia, Red Sox
5. Minnesota Twins: RHP J.R. Graham, Braves
6. Boston Red Sox: RHP Jandel Gustave, Astros
7. Chicago Cubs: SS Taylor Featherston, Rockies
8. Philadelphia Phillies: IF David Herrera, Rangers
9. Miami Marlins: LHP Andrew McKirahan, Cubs
10. New York Mets: LHP Sean Gilmartin, Twins
11. Atlanta Braves: RHP Daniel Winkler, Rockies
12. Seattle Mariners: LHP David Rollins, Astros
13. Baltimore Orioles: RHP Logan Verrett, Mets

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Blue Jays looking to trade market to bolster 'pen

Blue Jays looking to trade market to bolster 'pen

SAN DIEGO -- The Blue Jays appear more inclined to improve their bullpen through trades as opposed to free agency after spending the past several weeks closely monitoring each market.

Toronto needs to make at least a pair of additions to a bullpen that struggled throughout the 2014 season. When the offseason began, the club spent an equal amount of time exploring both options but the focus has since changed and trades now seem like a more plausible scenario.

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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 set to visit fans in annual Winter Tour

Blue Jays set to visit fans in annual Winter Tour

SAN DIEGO -- The Blue Jays' Winter Tour is set to make its annual return in January, with stops in Toronto, Calgary, Banff and Vancouver.

The cross-country tour was created in 2011 under the guidance of president Paul Beeston and senior vice president of business operations Stephen Brooks. It was based on the caravan tour that Toronto did throughout the late 1970s and early '80s.

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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 taking deliberate approach at Meetings

Blue Jays taking deliberate approach at Meetings

SAN DIEGO -- Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos arrived at the Winter Meetings earlier this week with the goal of improving his bullpen, and that remained the focus as the annual event hit the midway point on Tuesday.

Toronto has yet to make any major moves while visiting Southern California. The Blue Jays claimed first baseman Chris Colabello off waivers from the Twins and reportedly hired Dane Johnson as the new bullpen coach, but upgrades in the bullpen have been lacking.

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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.

Martin pegged to bat in two-hole for Blue Jays

Martin pegged to bat in two-hole for Blue Jays

SAN DIEGO -- Blue Jays manager John Gibbons believes that the recently signed Russell Martin will be an "ideal fit" for the second spot of Toronto's batting order.

Martin joined the club earlier this offseason on a five-year contract worth $82 million. Even though Spring Training is still a couple of months away, it appears as though Gibbons is set on using Martin near the top of the order.

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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 entertaining trade talks for Navarro

Anthopoulos says veteran catcher is still an important piece to club

Blue Jays entertaining trade talks for Navarro

SAN DIEGO -- The Blue Jays have been very open about the fact that Dioner Navarro is available through trade, but Alex Anthopoulos insists he won't make a deal that weakens his team.

Toronto's general manager said "clubs have asked" about Navarro, but Anthopoulos declined to get into specifics about the nature of those talks. A trade remains preferable for all parties, but unless a suitable offer surfaces, there's a chance that Navarro could return in 2015.

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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.

GM focused on Meetings, not Beeston rumors

Anthopoulos unconcerned with speculation over future of president/CEO

GM focused on Meetings, not Beeston rumors

SAN DIEGO -- Rumors have been swirling this week about the future of longtime Blue Jays president and CEO Paul Beeston, but when it comes to the Winter Meetings, general manager Alex Anthopoulos claims it has been business as normal.

Beeston was one of the biggest storylines on the eve of the annual meetings in San Diego. Multiple reports suggested Toronto asked for permission to speak with Baltimore's Dan Duquette and Chicago's Ken Williams while another article by the Toronto Sun claimed Beeston would remain in the fold for another 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.

Blue Jays pluck Colabello off waivers from Twins

First baseman adds depth at position, where Toronto aims to create competition

Blue Jays pluck Colabello off waivers from Twins

SAN DIEGO -- The Blue Jays added depth to their roster by claiming first baseman Chris Colabello off waivers from the Twins on Monday morning.

Toronto had been looking for at least one additional first baseman to compete with Justin Smoak. Edwin Encarnacion is expected to receive most of his at-bats out of the designated-hitter spot in 2015.

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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.

Lunch with Gibbons auction to benefit cancer research

Funds will be donated to LUNGevity, a national lung cancer-focused nonprofit

Lunch with Gibbons auction to benefit cancer research

SAN DIEGO -- The Blue Jays are auctioning off a lunch with manager John Gibbons to help raise awareness and funds for cancer research.

"Grub with Gibby" is Toronto's contribution to an initiative by Major League Baseball, MLB Advanced Media, MLB Network and all 30 organizations in the league. The campaign was inspired by the numerous employees, friends and fans of the game that have been directly affected by cancer.

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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.

24 years ago, the Blue Jays acquired Roberto Alomar

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24 years ago, the Blue Jays acquired Roberto Alomar

The year was 1990. Everyone's favorite movie was Home Alone, Iggy Azalea was just a string of nonsense words, and Pat Gillick was the general manager of the Blue Jays. Just before the Winter Meetings, he called his wife to tell her that he'd traded Tony Fernandez and her favorite player, Fred McGriff, to the Padres. 

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Saunders sorry to leave Seattle, happy to play in homeland

Saunders sorry to leave Seattle, happy to play in homeland

SEATTLE -- Michael Saunders is leaving the only professional baseball club he's ever known, but not without wanting to make one thing clear after being traded on Wednesday for Toronto left-hander J.A. Happ.

Although there has been talk this offseason of unhappiness between Saunders and the Mariners, the 27-year-old outfielder said it won't be easy leaving Seattle despite joining a club that plans to play him every day in left field and figures to be a strong contender in the American League East.

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Greg Johns is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @GregJohnsMLB as well as his Mariners Musings blog. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Blue Jays reportedly seeking replacement for Beeston

Toronto said to have asked to talk with Duquette of O's, Williams of White Sox

Blue Jays reportedly seeking replacement for Beeston

SAN DIEGO -- The Blue Jays reportedly are actively seeking a replacement for longtime president and CEO Paul Beeston.

According to a report from ESPN, Toronto's search has progressed to the point where it is identifying possible candidates. The report also suggests that the Blue Jays have asked for permission to talk with Baltimore's Dan Duquette and Chicago's Ken Williams, though both men downplayed any potential match on Sunday.

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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. Brittany Ghiroli contributed to this story. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Blue Jays acquire Saunders in deal for Happ

New addition is expected to assume starting job in left field

Blue Jays acquire Saunders in deal for Happ

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays filled their hole in left field on Wednesday by acquiring Michael Saunders from Seattle in a deal for left-hander J.A. Happ.

The trade all but officially guarantees that free agent Melky Cabrera will not be retained by the club. Toronto had interest in re-signing Cabrera, but it does not appear as though the two sides ever got close to agreeing on a lucrative multi-year contract.

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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 reach one-year deal with Smoak

Blue Jays reach one-year deal with Smoak

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays haven't parted ways with Justin Smoak after all, as they instead signed the first baseman to a one-year contract worth $1 million on Wednesday.

Toronto non-tendered Smoak prior to Tuesday night's deadline because he was projected to earn approximately $3 million through arbitration. That was too much for the Blue Jays' liking, but they still had interest at lower terms.

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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.

Prep shortstop Rodgers leads 2015 Draft class

Duke's Matuella, 2014 top pick Aiken follow Florida high school infielder on Top 50 list

Prep shortstop Rodgers leads 2015 Draft class

For the second time in their history, the Arizona Diamondbacks own the top pick in the First-Year Player Draft. The first time that happened, in 2005, they took a high school shortstop with a potent bat.

Ten years after grabbing Justin Upton, the D-backs could follow a similar path. Lake Mary (Fla.) High School shortstop Brendan Rodgers sits atop MLBPipeline.com's initial Draft Top 50 rankings, thanks to his three plus tools (bat, power, arm) complemented by two solid ones (speed, defense). Unlike Upton, who immediately moved to the outfield as a professional, Rodgers should remain at shortstop.

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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.

Bautista headlines Blue Jays' annual award winners

Slugger named Player of the Year; Buehrle takes Pitcher of Year honors

Bautista headlines Blue Jays' annual award winners

TORONTO -- Jose Bautista was named the Blue Jays' Player of the Year on Wednesday afternoon by the Toronto chapter of the Baseball Writers' Association of America.

Bautista received all 13 first-place votes en route to becoming a unanimous winner. Edwin Encarnacion finished second in the voting, while Melky Cabrera and Jose Reyes were third and fourth, respectively.

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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 part with Mayberry and Dirks

After non-tendering Smoak, club signs first baseman to one-year deal

Blue Jays part with Mayberry and Dirks

TORONTO -- The Blue Jays did not tender contracts to outfielders John Mayberry Jr. and Andy Dirks or first baseman Justin Smoak prior to Tuesday night's deadline. However, the club reached an agreement on a one-year, $1 million contract with Smoak on Wednesday.

Mayberry and Dirks were eligible for salary arbitration but now are free agents.

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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.

'Shocked' Donaldson glad to be with Blue Jays

Third baseman surprised about trade from A's, but ready for new chapter

'Shocked' Donaldson glad to be with Blue Jays

TORONTO -- Josh Donaldson insists he never saw it coming, and while the shock has yet to completely wear off, the All-Star third baseman has lofty expectations for his new home.

Toronto and Oakland stole all the headlines late Friday night when the two sides agreed to a blockbuster five-player trade. Donaldson headed to the Blue Jays, and a package including Brett Lawrie was sent to the A's in one of the most unexpected deals of the offseason.

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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 add exhibition game to spring slate

The Blue Jays added an exhibition game to their Spring Training slate on Wednesday, scheduling a March 15 contest against the Canadian National Junior Team.

Toronto will use split squads that day, with one group playing a Grapefruit League game on the road against the Braves and another hosting the exhibition game at Florida Auto Exchange Stadium in Dunedin, Fla., at 1:07 p.m. ET.

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Andrew Simon is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter @AndrewSimonMLB. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.

Jays Care unveils community hub at Boys & Girls Club of Kingston

Capital Space assists in constructing new facility with $150,000 grant

Jays Care unveils community hub at Boys & Girls Club of Kingston

"Never give up on your dreams. It will take hard work to achieve them, and people may doubt you, but you should never give up."

That's the advice that Blue Jays outfielder and fellow Canadian Dalton Pompey gave to 150 members of the Boys & Girls Club of Kingston who were in attendance Tuesday for the unveiling of the club's new West End Community HUB.

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