Rejoice Blue Jays fans, pitchers and catchers officially report to Dunedin today for the start of spring training, full team workouts commence on Monday when position players are required to report.
After a precarious offseason filled with turmoil that was fuelled by management slowplaying the free agent market. There are still a plethora of quality players without contracts for the upcoming season. The Blue Jays have yet to sign a free agent to a major league contract however it appears they are still in the market for a back of the rotation starter.
The domino effect from the Chicago Cubs signing of free agent Yu Darvish last week has not come to fruition as many had planned. The likes of Alex Cobb, Jake Arrieta, Lance Lynn, Jason Vargas and Chris Tillman to name a few all remain unsigned in free agent purgatory. Former Blue Jays slugger Jose Bautista is still without a contract although there was a recent rumour that the Miami Marlins may be interested in bringing on the aging outfielder.
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The Jays have been particularly focused on signing relievers to minor league pacts coming to terms with Craig Breslow, John Axford, Jake Petricka and Matt Tracy over the past week. Earlier in the offseason, the Jays signed veteran reliever Al Alburquerque to a minor league deal with an invite to spring training.
We may still see the addition of a backup catcher to challenge Luke Maile for the second catcher spot on the squad behind Russell Martin. Maile is an above average defender, however, provides virtually nothing with the stick.
General Manager Ross Atkins focussed on trades to achieve his goal of becoming more athletic and versatile adding Randal Grichuk, Yangervis Solarte, and Aledmys Diaz all via the trade route. Gone from last year is Ryan Goins, Darwin Barney, Miguel Montero and Brett Anderson, however, Anderson has not found a new team and could be a fit to return.
The Jays first Grapefruit League game is Friday, February 23rd as they host the new-look Philadelphia Phillies.
Rejoice folks, Blue Jays baseball is back