Toronto Blue Jays off-season news and notes for the weekend of November 26th
Black Friday slipped past without a Toronto Blue Jays transaction this off-season, an outlier in a long line of Friday moves made by the Blue Jays in recent years.
December 2nd’s non-tender deadline and the status of ongoing CBA negotiations — for better or for worse — should slowly bring the market to life in the coming weeks. Until then, here is what you might have missed from the past few days of Blue Jays coverage:
Cuban baseball royalty
Lourdes Gurriel Jr., who signed a seven-year, $23 million deal out of Cuba with the Blue Jays earlier this off-season, comes from one of his country’s best-known baseball families. Morgan Campbell has that excellent story here for the Toronto Star.
Gurriel’s father, Lourdes Sr., is one of Cuba’s most recognized figures and led the national team to Olympic gold in 1992. His brother, Yulieski, signed a rich deal earlier in 2016 with the Houston Astros and is expected to be an integral part of their strong 2017 roster. Lourdes is expected to open the year in double-A or triple-A with the Jays.
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More from Toronto Blue Jays News
- Blue Jays: Alek Manoah on pace to succeed in possible postseason
- Blue Jays: Bradley Zimmer has carved himself a valuable role
- Anthony Bass has been the shutdown reliever the Blue Jays needed
- Blue Jays: Vladimir Guerrero Jr. open to a long-term contract
- Blue Jays: Snapping cold streaks at the right time
Steve Sanders, the Blue Jays’ new director of amateur scouting, is a very young, very respected name in Major League Baseball. Shi Davidi has a profile of Sanders here for Sportsnet.
Sanders earned glowing reviews from Mike Hazen, now the general manager of the Arizona Diamondbacks, and emerged from an original pool of 50 candidates that the Blue Jays had identified. He’ll be a central piece of the Blue Jays success going forward, especially as they begin to bolster their farm system with a trio of first-round draft picks next summer.
Over at Blue Jay Hunter, Ian Hunter takes a look at former Toronto outfielder and current free agent curiosity Eric Thames. I’ll agree with his take on the best landing spot for Thames, too:
“A team where he has a lot more breathing room,” Hunter writes, “away from the bright lights of high expectations – somewhere like Tampa Bay Rays, Pittsburgh Pirates or Colorado Rockies feels like the ideal home for Eric Thames.”
Jays Nest Podcast – ICYMI
If you missed it from earlier in the week, catch up now with episode 99 of the Jays Nest Podcast featuring myself and Shaun Doyle of Jays From the Couch. We broke down what Brett Cecil’s signing means for the Toronto Blue Jays and the rest of the free agent market, then tackle some still-relevant reader questions. Subscribe below and stay tuned for the milestone episode 100 dropping next week.
Prospect talk at advanced-A Dunedin
Also at Jays From the Couch, minor-league aficionado Ryan Mueller breaks down the outfield position at advanced-A Dunedin this season. That’s a position that included the highs of Anthony Alford, the lows of D.J. Davis, and everything in between.
Class is in session
Marcus Stroman spoke to a marketing class at Ryerson this week about personal branding, which is a market he’s cornered with ‘HDMH’, and balancing a diverse portfolio of interests. Melissa Verge has the story here for the Canadian Baseball Network.
“I got a Tweet today ‘Stroman why aren’t you working on your sinker,” he said, “why are you rapping, why are you traveling? You should be in the gym working out.’ “People don’t realize that I am doing these things, there’s plenty of time to be able to balance it all.”