February 4, 2021
By Kevin Glew
Cooperstowners in Canada
My weekly roundup of former Toronto Blue Jays news and notes:
–RHP Chase Anderson has signed a one-year, $4-million deal with the Philadelphia Phillies, per Scott Lauber of the Philadelphia Inquirer.
–OF Rajai Davis has retired as a player and has been hired by Major League Baseball to serve as a director of on-field operations. In his role, he’ll focus on rule changes and amateur baseball, according to Steve Adams of MLB Trade Rumors.
–LHP Wade LeBlanc has signed a minor league deal to return to the Baltimore Orioles that will pay him $700,000 if he cracks the big league roster, per Jon Morosi, of Fox Sports. The contract includes an invite to MLB spring training.
–LHP Francisco Liriano, who pitched with the Blue Jays in 2016 and 2017, has signed a minor league deal to return to the club. The contract includes an invite to big league camp. Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi reports that Liriano will make a base salary of $1.5 million if the veteran lefty makes the major league club. The deal also includes performance bonuses.
–LHP Aaron Loup has signed a one-year, $3-million deal with the New York Mets, per Jon Heyman of the MLB Network. The deal also includes $250,000 in potential performance bonuses.
Former Montreal Expos Transactions
–Former Expos infielder Casey Candaele has been promoted to be the manager of the Blue Jays’ triple-A Buffalo Bisons, per Shi Davidi of Sportsnet. Candaele, who batted .248 in 204 games with the Expos from 1986 to 1988, served as the manager of the class-A Advanced Dunedin Blue Jays in 2018 and as bench boss of the class-A Short-Season Vancouver Canadians in 2019.
Encarnacion wants to play two more years
Paul Kinzer, the agent of former Blue Jays DH Edwin Encarnacion, recently told Fox Sports reporter Jon Morosi that the 38-year-old slugger wants to play two more seasons. Encarnacion, who’s coming off a campaign in which he hit .157 and had 10 home runs in 44 games for the Chicago White Sox, has made it his goal to reach 500 home runs. He currently has 424 homers, 239 of which he clubbed in his eight seasons with the Blue Jays from 2009 to 2016.
Tributes to Elliott Wahle
Elliott Wahle, the Blue Jays’ first administrator of player personnel, passed away on Friday at the age of 69 after a courageous battle with cancer. After I published my obituary about him, several former Blue Jays colleagues, players and media personalities paid tribute to Wahle on social media.
Here’s a sample of the tributes:
Stieb deserved a Cy Young Award
The graphic below was shared on Twitter today by High Heat Stats. This is a list of the major league pitchers with the top WAR (Wins Above Replacement) in their first six seasons in the past 50 years.
As you can see, former Blue Jays ace and Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame inductee Dave Stieb is sixth on the list, ranking ahead of surefire Hall of Famer Clayton Kershaw, who won three Cy Young awards in his first six seasons and Bret Saberhagen who won two Cy Young awards in his first six. Stieb is also just below Jacob deGrom, who also captured two Cy Young awards in his first six campaigns.
It seem a crime that the highest Stieb finished in the American League Cy Young voting in his first six seasons was fourth in 1983.
On this date in Blue Jays history . . .
Twenty-three years ago today, the Blue Jays signed Jose Canseco to a one-year contract with a base salary of $750,000, with a potential to make $2.25 million in performance bonuses.
The right-handed hitting slugger had missed significant time due to injuries in his previous five seasons, but in 1998, when he was finally healthy – and with the assistance of steroids – Canseco belted a career-high 46 home runs and stole 29 bases in 151 games in his sole season with the Blue Jays. Following that season, he signed a one-year deal with the Tampa Bay Rays.