There is still snow on the ground but for Blue Jays fans there is some light at the end of the tunnel: it is just under two weeks until the Jays start their spring training schedule on February 25th, playing Atlanta in Orlando. The Blue Jays Blog has been in a state of semi-hibernation since the end of the season, but now it’s time to slowly get ready for the 2017 season.
To start with in this post we’re going to look at what has happened with the Jays since the end of the season, specifically some of the key roster changes. If you haven’t been following what’s been going on in the off season this should bring you up to date! By the way, let me know in the comment section if I’ve missed something on this — I’ve tried to make it as thorough as possible.
The Losses — Players Who Elected to Become Free Agents And Signed Elsewhere:
- Edwin Encarnacion: Okay, so this is unquestionably the biggest news of the off-season, and I doubt it’s news to you. Edwin rejected the Jays 4 year $80 million offer, and signed with the Cleveland Indians. While he was rumoured to have interest from Boston and New York, he ended up signing with the ALCS winning Indians.
- Michael Saunders: The former Jays left-fielder and 2016 AL all-star signed with the Philadelphia Phillies.
- Brett Cecil: The left-handed reliever signed with the St. Louis Cardinals
- R.A. Dickey: Not entirely surprising, after not being included on the post-season roster, and seeing limited action in September, the knuckle-baller declared free-agency at the end of the season, and signed with the Atlanta Braves.
- Joaquin Benoit: The right-handed reliever signed with the Philadelphia Phillies
- Josh Thole: The back-up catcher signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
- Scott Feldman: The right-handed reliever signed with the Cincinnati Reds on January 26, 2017.
The Signings/Re-signings – On Active Roster (As of February 12, 2017):
- Jose Bautista: This was, well one of the more surprising moves. After Bautista rejected the Jays qualifying offer back in November, it appeared he would be moving on to another team. Two months later though he ended up signing with the Jays.
- Kendrys Morales: The Jays signed the Kansas City Royals DH in November, which well help offset the loss of Encarnacion. Morales posted 30 homeruns and 93 RBIs last year.
- Steve Pearce: The Jays signed a two-year contract with Pearce, who according to Sportsnet will be used primarily at first-base and in left field.
- Gavin Floyd: The right-handed reliever declared his intention to pursue free agency, but re-signed with the Jays on January 5th to a minor league deal.
- Brett Oberholtzer: The Jays signed the left-handed reliever December 7th.
- Glenn Sparkman: The right-handed pitcher was signed as a Rule 5 draft pick on December 8th.
- Lourdes Gurriel: The Jays signed the Cuban prospect to a seven-year deal on November 12th.
- Juan Graterol: Claimed the former Angels catcher off of waivers on January 23rd.
- Jarrod Saltalamacchia: The Jays signed the veteran catcher to a minor league contract on February 6th.
- Jake Elmore: The Jays signed Elmore, who has played every position during his career, on February 9th.
- J.P. Howell and Joe Smith: The Jays signed the veteran relievers on February 10th.
The Signings – Not on Active Roster (Links to Player Profile Page):
- Felipe Castaneda (4/11/16, RHP)
- Kender Villegas (10/11/16, RHP)
- Casey Lawrence (14/11/16, RHP)
- Mike Ohlman (17/11/16, C)
- Leonel Campos (18/11/16, RHP)
- Dominic Leone (18/11/16, RHP)
- Juan Diaz (18/11/16, LHP)
- Yohandy Martir (18/11/16, RHP)
- Jarrett Grube (24/11/16, RHP)
- Alex Monsalve (5/12/16, C)
- Murphy Smith (12/12/16, RHP)
- TJ House (14/12/16, LHP)
- Brayan Mejia (20/12/16, RHP)
- Jhon Victorino (20/12/16, RHP)
- Gaudy Ramirez (20/12/16, RHP)
- Andres Martinez (20/12/16, OF)
- Rafael Monsion (21/12/16, LHP)
- Jeff Beliveau (27/12/16, LHP)