The Blue Jays have just released their promo schedule for the 2018 season, and trust me when I say it is the best one I’ve seen from them in a while. The Jays have a lineup of fun themed days, as well as some creative mid-week and weekend giveaways. Pride Day, Star Wars Day, and a Justin Smoak Bobblehead giveaway are just some of the best giveaways from this years schedule!
In March, the Blue Jays have a fun Honda Home Opening Weekend lined up for us! This year, the Blue Jays will be starting the season at home on March 29 against the New York Yankees. On Opening Day, the Jays will be giving away a T-Shirt and a 2018 Magnet Schedule (fun fact: this is my personal favourite item that the Jays giveaway annually!). On Saturday (just two days after opening day), the Blue Jays will be giving away a Justin Smoak bobblehead presented by Honda. Smoak was the most surprising player that the Blue Jays had next season (and certainly was one of the most surprising players in all of baseball), so it only made sense that they honoured him with a bobblehead!
In April, the Blue Jays will be honouring the Blue Jays 1992-1993 Back-to-Back World Series titles with a Sweatshirt giveaway on the 18th. I can’t wait to see what they will look like! They will also be holding their annual “Country Day” celebrations on April 28th, featuring a Blue Jays-themed Plaid Raglan giveaway. Like last season, the Blue Jays will be continuing with “Thursday Night in the 6IX” presented by TD Canada. The first “Thursday Night in the 6IX” giveaway will be on April 26, and the Jays + TD will be giving away a “Bringer of Rain” (Josh Donaldson) T-Shirt.
In May, the Jays will be holding their second and third “Thursday Night in the 6IX“, giving away two more t-shirts, but the theme/player highlighted on the t-shirts have yet to be announced. For Mothers Day, the Jays will be giving away a Kevin Pillar Caped Replica Jersey. Pillar was a great player to feature for Mothers Day, as his wife just recently gave birth to their first baby, Kobie Ray Pillar! The Jays will be having their first “Jr. Jays Saturdays Weekend” presented by Boston Pizza, and will be giving away a “Lets Go Blue Jays” Bath Towel! Jr. Jays celebrations will now be occurring every Sunday, rather than every Saturday like in previous seasons. On May 24, the Blue Jays will be playing at 12:37 pm, against the Los Angeles Angels. This will be their first “School Day” of the season, and they will be giving away Blue Jays themed Sunglasses!
In June, the Blue Jays will be giving away their first mid-week bobblehead of the season, featuring Marcus Stroman and his “Shimmy Wobble” (see the gif below!). The Blue Jays will also be holding their first Pride Night presented by TD on June 8th and will be giving away a special Blue Jays Pride Hat. It is so nice to see the Blue Jays add this to their promo schedule! On June 19, MLB Network will be giving away reusable bags.
In July, the Blue Jays will be having a fun week of giveaways, taking place on July 1- July 6. The Blue Jays will be celebrating Canada Day presented by Honda, by holding their annual celebrations, as well as giving away a hat. On July 2, the Blue Jays will be giving away their 2nd mid-week bobblehead, featuring J.A. Happ. On the Friday of that same week, the Blue Jays will be giving away Jays themed Bucket Hats, while holding an event called “Margaritaville at the Ballpark“!
In August, the Blue Jays will be giving away an Aaron Sanchez Replica Jersey on the 8th, as well as a Blue Jays Replica Batting Helmet on the 25th. The most exciting giveaway in August will be a triple bobblehead, celebrating the 25th Anniversary of the Blue Jays 1992-1993 Back-to-Back World Series titles. The players on the bobblehead will be Roberto Alomar, Paul Molitor, and John Olerud. This will be given away on August 11th.
In September, the Blue Jays will be having “Star Wars” day and will be giving away a Blue Jays-themed R2D2OQUE, presented by Sonnet Home and Auto Insurance. They will also be holding a Jr. Jays Back to School Day presented by Boston Pizza on September 9th, featuring an exciting new giveaway… a Buck Martinez “GET UP!” Alarm Clock! I for one hope that this giveaway will be for everyone and not just for children under 14! The final giveaway will be on September 22, during the Blue Jays annual Fan Appreciation Weekend. They will be giving away Convertible Mittens, perfect for a Canadian winter!
And those are all of your Toronto Blue Jays 2018 Promotional Events and Giveaways! Which one is your favourite? Let me know on Twitter! Thanks for reading!
On November 20th at 8:00 pm EST, the Toronto Blue Jays, along with every other team in Major League Baseball, set their official 40-man rosters ahead of the Rule 5 Draft Deadline.
The Blue Jays added five prospects onto their roster, four of which would have been previously eligible for other teams to claim, during the MLB Rule 5 Draft, had they not have been added to the 40-man roster. Teams have the option of drafting one player (in total) from any organization that is not currently on a 40-man roster, for $100,000. This player must stay on the 25-man roster of the team that they were just acquired by, or else the team in which they were acquired from has the opportunity to gain back possession of them for $50,000. (For more on the Rule 5 Draft concept and rules, please click here.)
Right-hander Conner Greene, catcher Reese McGuire, left-hander Thomas Pannone, catcher Danny Jansen, and first baseman Rowdy Tellez were added to the 40-man roster. Tellez, McGuire, Jansen, and Greene, would have been eligible for teams to claim during the Rule 5 Draft.
RHP Connor Greene and LHP Thomas Pannone have been high profile minor league pitchers within the Blue Jays organization since they were drafted. In AA, Greene posted a high ERA of 5.29 in 26 games (he started all but one). Pannone posted an ERA of 2.36 in 25 games, appearing in two double-A and one High-A team.
Catchers Danny Jansen and Reese McGuire are two of most well-known prospects in the Blue Jays minor league system. Both are shaping up to be potentially great major league catchers for the Blue Jays. In 104 games in High-A, Double-A, and AAA, Danny Jansen sustained a great slash line of .323/.400/.484, along with hitting 10 homers and 48 RBIs. In September, the Blue Jays were thinking of calling up Jansen but instead decided to let him develop in the minor leagues. In 2018, we could potentially see Jansen on the major league roster, if the Blue Jays are having backup catcher issues (which they had this past season). In 45 games between High-A and AA, Reese McGuire hit a slash line of .295/.376/.483, with six homers and 28 RBIs. McGuire still has some developing to do in the minor leagues, but he could turn out to be a great catcher for the Blue Jays in the future.
Rowdy Tellez has been one of my favourite prospects for quite some time now. When I had lost faith in Justin Smoak, I would always remember the great talent in Tellez, and would recognize that things wouldn’t be “this bad for this long”. However in the 2017 season, Justin Smoak had an incredible year, and Rowdy Tellez did not play up to his standards. Tellez was promoted to AAA in April, and his stats seemed to slowly decrease since the promotion. Hopefully in the off-season, Tellez can return back to his normal powerful self. Plus, working out with Marcus Stroman definitely doesn’t hurt!
In addition, the Toronto Blue Jays also traded for Gift Ngoepe, an INF in the Pittsburgh Pirates organization, in exchange for a PTBNL or cash considerations. Gift appeared in 28 major league games this past season and hit .222. The acquisition of Gift Ngoepe could potentially change Darwin Barney’s future within the Jays organization (whether or not they re-sign him this offseason). However, the Jays will most likely be using him as a minor-league depth in AAA, and have the option of calling him up later in the 2018 season, if a significant injury were to occur to one of the starting infielders.
The 40-man roster is now at 39, leaving a spot open for the Blue Jays to add one player before the Rule 5 Draft, which takes place on December 14th. MLB Winter Meetings are December 10th-14th, and take place at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort in Orlando, Florida.
Every year on MLBTradeRumors.com, Matt Swarts and the rest of the team on MLB Trade Rumors have created a successful formula for predicting arbitration salaries for each MLB team. Listed below, you will find the projected arbitration salaries for Toronto Blue Jays in the 2018 season:
- Josh Donaldson – $20.7MM
- Aaron Loup – $1.8MM
- Tom Koehler – $6.0MM
- Ezequiel Carrera – $1.9MM
- Marcus Stroman – $7.2MM
- Kevin Pillar – $4.0MM
- Ryan Goins – $1.8MM
- Aaron Sanchez – $1.9MM
- Devon Travis – $1.7MM
- Roberto Osuna – $5.6MM
If all of the projected salaries are correct, the Blue Jays will commit $52.6 Million to players in arbitration. In total payroll, the Blue Jays currently have $142.7 Million committed to players on the 25-man roster, with 4 open spots available.
For more news on arbitration and free agency eligible players, click here.
Welp… that was one ugly looking season. But you already knew that, so let’s not rehash.
The Toronto Blue Jays 2018 team could look A LOT different than the 2017 team, which is not a bad thing at all! Another season over, means another year older. And eventually, those years can add up, especially to all of the big league players.
The Jays have 6 free agents on the current 40-man roster, including:
- Brett Anderson
- Darwin Barney
- José Bautista
- Marco Estrada (re-signed with the Jays!!!)
- Michael Saunders (club option)
- Miguel Montero
The Blue Jays also have 6 players that have arbitration eligibility. Players are eligible for arbitration if they meet a certain piece of criteria. These include: having at least three full seasons with MLB playing time. As stated on fangraphs.com, “If a player qualifies for arbitration, they can still reach a contract agreement with their team and choose not to go to a hearing. If the two sides cannot reach an agreement, though, both sides submit their salary request to an arbitration panel. A hearing is conducted, and both sides are allowed to state why they believe the player’s salary should be set at the level they specified. The arbitration panel — an unbiased, third party — then decides which case is stronger, and awards the player the salary they deem most appropriate.”
The players that qualify for arbitration that were on the Jays 2017 40-man roster, include:
- Ryan Goins
- Tom Koehler
- Aaron Loup
- Roberto Osuna
- Kevin Pillar
- Marcus Stroman
- Darwin Barney
- Ezequiel Carrera
- Aaron Sanchez
- Devon Travis
- Josh Donaldson
The Blue Jays will be investing a lot of money into many of the players on this list, as well as others including Martin and Tulowitzki. There are a lot of players that the Jays will be looking at to base their contract offers on. For example, Osuna and the Jays front office can look at Trevor Rosenthal’s contract in his early years as a closer for the St. Louis Cardinals, to compare it with what he should be making for the 2018 season. Rosenthal entered arbitration for the first time in 2015 and saw his salary shoot up from $535,000 to 5.6 million.
As always, when news comes out about free agent contracts and arbitration eligible players, you can hear it on my blog (what you’re reading right now)! Don’t forget to follow me on twitter for 24/7 updates!
On October 1st, 2017, the Toronto Blue Jays ended the regular season with a 2-1 win against the New York Yankees, who will be hosting the 2017 American League Wild-Card game tomorrow night at 8:00pm EST. They will be playing the Minnesota Twins. Whoever wins tomorrow night, will be facing Edwin Encarnacion and the Cleveland Indians in the American League Divisional Series.
This will be the first season that the Jays will not be making an appearance in the MLB playoffs since their back-to-back appearances in the 2015 and 2016 season. Within the past three seasons, the Blue Jays have captured the hearts of 36 million canadians with their constant success and luck. And while this past season they had neither of those, the Jays finished second in the American League in attendance, with 3,203,886 fans watching live at the Rogers Centre. Trailing behind the New York Yankees with 3,146,966 fans in attendance (while the Jays had more fans in attendance, they had 2 extra home games  than the New York Yankees did  this season). Toronto came #5 overall, behind the LA Dodgers, St. Louis Cardinals, San Francisco Giants, and New York Yankees. Toronto has turned into a baseball city thanks to the names of Joey Bats, Bringer of Rain, Superman, Stro-Show, Go-Go, EE/Eddie (😢), Price, and many more meaningful players that the Blue Jays have had. I know I will never forget the past few seasons, and I’m sure you never will either.
While it may seem weird how the Jays will not be in the 2017 playoffs, it is definitely not a shock. Toronto Blue Jays president Mark Shapiro, and General Manager Ross Atkins stated during the 2017 offseason that they wanted to acquire more players to make the team more fast and athletic. They believed this would make the Jays 2017 playoff contenders for the third straight season. And while this probably would have worked, they did not follow through with their words and instead re-signed José Bautista, and gave contracts to Kendrys Morales and Steve Pearce. None of which are fast and/or in the peak of their athletic years. However, they did play quite mediocre as a collective group offensively this season. During the 2017 trade deadline, the Jays traded away starting pitcher Fransisco Liriano, and acquired Nori Aoki (who they later released), as well as top-prospect Teoscar Hernandez from the Houston Astros. Teoscar Hernandez was on fire for all of September, and I am ecstatic to see where he will end up playing for within the Blue Jays organization next season. He looks like a very promising player, that checks off all of the things the Jays need to look for in players for the 2018 season (faster, athletic, power, etc.).
The 2018 offseason shall be a very interesting one for the Toronto Blue Jays. There is just one more season left until some of the hottest players in the league become free agents (in 2019), so I assume a lot of trades will be made during the 2018 Winter Meetings and Trade Deadline. The Jays have a lot of decisions to make, focusing mostly around the futures of Josh Donaldson and José Bautista. Will the Jays sign Donaldson to a $100 Million contract extension? Will the Blue Jays re-sign José Bautista to his final contract of his career, so he can retire as a Blue Jay? These questions will be answered within the next 5 months, and I am looking forward to seeing how these narratives will play out.
Could the Jays be playoff contenders for the 2018 season? Potentially. The front office and staff have a lot of work to do… but I believe in them. If Shapiro, Atkins, and management can bring together a great core group of talented veterans and rookies, they will be able to compete alongside the Red Sox and Yankees in 2018.
Obviously, this season was miserable for both the fans, and staff of the team. But I tend not to dwell on the past, and instead be optimistic for the future of the team. Let’s not forget about our AMAZING Low-A, High-A, and AA teams that are affiliated with the Toronto Blue Jays. Both “A” teams were champions of their division, and with names like Vladdy Guerrero Jr. and Bo Bichette, who can hide their excitement for the long term future of the Toronto Blue Jays?!
As always, I will continue to tweet regularly about the Toronto Blue Jays throughout the off-season, as well as occasionally tweet about both the Toronto Maple Leafs (NHL) and the Toronto Raptors (NBA). Alongside social media, regular blog posts will be going up weekly about the Jays offseason news and other Jays related shenanigans.
Thanks to everyone who made this MLB season more tolerable, and I look forward to the upcoming post-season, as well as 2018 season!