Blue Jays past players ink pacts with new teams

TORONTO, CANADA - AUGUST 7: Colby Rasmus /

Three former Toronto Blue Jays players have inked pacts with new teams over the past couple days as Spring Training kicks into full swing around the majors.

Canadian outfielder Michael Saunders will not return north of the border after finishing the 2017 campaign with the Blue Jays. Saunders latched on yesterday with the Pittsburgh Pirates on a minor league deal with an invite to spring training.

The former All-Star will attempt to revive his career with the Bucs after a disappointing season last year split between Philadelphia and Toronto. The 31-year old is a career .232/.305/.397 hitter with 81 home runs in 775 games spanning over 9 seasons.

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The Baltimore Orioles agreed to a minor league deal as well yesterday with former Blue Jays outfielder Colby Rasmus. The 31-year old last appeared for the Jays in 2014 after spending parts of 4 seasons manning the outfield in Toronto.

Rasmus appeared in 37 games last season for the Rays before calling it a season due to injuries. The former 1st round pick is a career .242/.311/.438 hitter with 165 round trippers in 9 seasons with the Cardinals, Jays, Astros, and Rays.

Rounding out the trio of former Jays latching on with new teams is reliever Joaquin Benoit who signed a 1-year/$1 million dollar deal with the Washington Nationals. The 40-year old Benoit spent last season between Philadelphia and Pittsburgh registering a 4.65 earned run average in 52 appearances.

Benoit was an integral member of the Jays bullpen down the stretch in 2016 but missed the postseason after suffering a freak calf injury running from the bullpen during a bench-clearing brawl.

Next: Blue Jays content with Luke Maile in backup role

Even after the recent signings a plethora of players with Blue Jays ties still remain unsigned searching for a new employer. Most notably is slugger Jose Bautista along with the likes of Brett Anderson, Francisco Liriano, Miguel Montero, Melky Cabrera, Chris Coghlan, Yunel Escobar, Scott Feldman, Jason Grilli, Aaron Hill, Adam Lind, Ben Revere, Drew Storen and Danny Valencia all remain available.