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News and Notes: February 6
By Jay Blue
Blue Jays from Away
There’s a lot of little things to talk about in Blue Jays-land but not very many of them are particularly impactful.
The biggest thing that happened in the last couple of days was the annual State of the Franchise event at Rogers Centre. I wasn’t in attendance this year and I missed the great food and drinks but I really didn’t miss hearing general manager Alex Anthopoulos, president Paul Beeston and manager John Gibbons (and broadcaster Buck Martinez) telling us how things will be great without actually telling us anything at all.
Reports from the event itself say that Beeston wants a winner this year (who doesn’t?), they’re “farming out” the research into real grass at Rogers Centre to University of Guelph for $600,000, the Jays think that Sanchez will probably be in the bullpen and Marco Estrada or Daniel Norris in the rotation and they’re happy with the guys they have at second base. So, um. Yeah.
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In addition to the big news of the State of the Franchise, we learned today that the Blue Jays lost their first arbitration case of the season. The arbitrators awarded Danny Valencia a one-year contract for $1.675 million (the Blue Jays offered $1.2 million) and the Jays lost the first arbitration hearing that they’ve been to since 1997. The Jays have one more case to be arbitrated; Josh Donaldson is asking for $5.75 million while the Jays are offering $4.3 million. My money’s on Donaldson in that one.
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The Blue Jays made a couple of minor league signings today, getting 30-year-old lefty Luis Perez back into the fold after he’s struggled with injuries, got released and is trying to make a comeback. Matt Eddy of Baseball America reported the signing earlier today.
Alexis Brudnicki reported that the Jays signed John Stephens, a 21-year-old, 6-foot-1 outfielder from Surrey, B.C. And that’s about all the info we can find from him. She reported that Mel Didier, the signing scout (and legend) called him “a diamond in the rough.”
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Work has started on the 2015 edition of the Toronto Blue Jays Minor League Handbook. You can still purchase The 2014 Toronto Blue Jays Minor League Handbook, now available as an ebook at Smashwords.com, now at a reduced price of $2.99 US. You can purchase and preview the book at our Smashwords.com page!
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