Toronto Blue Jays News

Former Blue Jays who find themselves with an AL East rival this season

PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 25: Josh Donaldson #20 of the Toronto Blue Jays bats during a game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on May 25, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Blue Jays won 6-5. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images)
PHILADELPHIA, PA - MAY 25: Josh Donaldson #20 of the Toronto Blue Jays bats during a game against the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park on May 25, 2018 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. The Blue Jays won 6-5. (Photo by Hunter Martin/Getty Images) /
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SEATTLE, WASHINGTON – MAY 18: James Paxton #44 of the Seattle Mariners walks the field before the game against the Detroit Tigers at T-Mobile Park on May 18, 2021 in Seattle, Washington. (Photo by Steph Chambers/Getty Images) /

Boston Red Sox

Josh Winckowski

A 15th round draft pick of the Blue Jays back in 2016, right-hander Josh Winckowski was starting to find his groove in the Minor Leagues after a couple of rough seasons to begin his pro career. In 2019, Winckowski compiled a 2.69 ERA through 24 appearances split between A and A+ within the Jays’ organization.

The front office would go on to trade the starting pitcher last offseason as part of the package for southpaw Steven Matz to the New York Mets. A couple of weeks later, the Mets included him in a three-team trade that would see him be sent to the Boston Red Sox and was ultimately led by Andrew Benintendi heading to the Kansas City Royals.

As Spring Training begins, the Blue Jays will enter the season with some friendly faces and old friends suiting up with AL East rivals.

Between AA/AAA last year, the Ohio product put up solid numbers, posting a 3.94 ERA with 8.1 K/9 and a 1.232 WHIP through 112.0 outings. He did struggle in the Arizona Fall League through six relief appearances but a strong start to the 2022 campaign could see the Blue Jays face the #20 ranked prospect for the Red Sox later in the year.

Rob Refsnyder

A journeyman for most of his Major League career, Rob Refsnyder’s tenure with the Blue Jays was limited to just 32 games, mostly as a bench piece and pinch hitter. The club acquired him in a trade from the New York Yankee back in July of 2017 and he would be placed on waivers in the following offseason. With the Jays, the South Korean-born Refsnyder collected 10 hits and amassed a .496 OPS.

Refsnyder has bounced around since leaving Toronto and currently finds himself with the Boston Red Sox camp this spring on a Minor League contract with a Spring Training invite.

James Paxton

While James Paxton has never played a game in the Blue Jays minor league system, he was selected by the Jays 37th overall back in 2009 but the two sides couldn’t come to an agreement. No stranger to the AL East after spending two seasons in New York, the Ladner, British Columbia product returns to the division after heading back to Seattle for the 2021 campaign (after spending seven seasons with the Mariners, who drafted him back in 2010). He recently signed a one-year deal with the Red Sox with a club option for a second year.

Paxton will start the season on the 60-day IL after undergoing Tommy John surgery early into the 2021 campaign and could be a factor later on in the season.

Travis Shaw

Nicknamed the “Mayor of Ding Dong City”, infielder Travis Shaw joined the Blue Jays for the 2020 campaign in an effort to rebuild his status after a down year with the Milwaukee Brewers in 2019.

In his lone season with the Jays, Shaw split time between first and third base and hit to a .239/.306/.411 with 6 home runs and a .717 OPS. He joins the Red Sox on a MiLB deal.

Taylor Cole

Drafted by the Blue Jays in 2011, BYU product Taylor Cole spent parts of seven seasons in the organization, eventually making his MLB debut in 2017. That debut would be rough for Cole, as he allowed six hits and four earned runs through 1.1 innings. He would elect free agency and sign with the Los Angeles Angels the following offseason.

Cole enters the Red Sox camp on a MiLB deal with a Spring Training invite.

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