Toronto Blue Jays news and notes for January 20th
The Blue Jays’ off-season was jolted from its slumber earlier this week with the signing of franchise icon Jose Bautista, bringing a smooth end to a rocky two-plus months.
On Thursday, general manager Ross Atkins met with the media to discuss Bautista and the team’s remaining off-season needs. You can read more on that here.
Elsewhere in the land of Blue Jays, here is what you might have missed (specifically on the minor-league side):
Non-roster spring invites:
This group of seven will also be joined by other top prospects like outfielder Anthony Alford and shortstop Richard Urena who are both on the 40-man roster.
Compared to last spring, where many of Toronto’s invited prospects were there for development and exposure, several names from this group have an opportunity to impact at some point in 2017. Tellez could push for at-bats with a strong showing in Buffalo, while Greene and McGuire are not too far off. Mayza and Browning will both be given a long look in Toronto’s bullpen competition, as well.
Mayza, the 25-year-old left-hander, struggled after a promotion to double-A last season but was excellent with high-A Dunedin and offers strikeout potential. Browning, the 28-year-old sidearm pitcher, has quietly put together a career minor-league ERA of 1.98 and is very difficult on right-handed hitters.
The Blue Jays announced their minor-league appointments on Thursday, including team coaching staffs and system-wide personnel.
Eric Wedge will lead the player development team in 2017 as field co-ordinator. Bobby Meacham takes the helm at triple-A Buffalo while former Bisons manager Gary Allenson swaps spots and will lead double-A New Hampshire. Former Blue Jays’ great Devon White will serve as Buffalo’s hitting coach.
Jeff Ware, who has served as a pitching coach in the system, is now the organization’s pitching coordinator and will continue to work with the Jays’ next generation of arms. Ken Huckaby, Dunedin’s 2016 manager, is now the organization’s catching coordinator.
Former players Andy Fermin, Luis Hurtado, and Chris Schaeffer have moved into coaching positions. An interesting role being added is Mental Performance Coach with Ben Freakley Jr. joining the organization.
Catch up on the top-30 prospect list, in progress now: