Ex-Blue Jays: A summary of off-season transactions

Former Blue Jays outfielder Kevin Pillar has signed a one-year contract with the New York Mets.

By Kevin Glew

Cooperstowners in Canada

Are you wondering where Justin Smoak is playing this year?

Or if former Blue Jays catcher Jeff Mathis is still active?

Well, I wonder about these things.

And that explains why I’ve spent a lot of time this off-season documenting all of the transactions that I could find that involve ex-Blue Jays. I thought I would share my complete list:

*The list is in alphabetical order by the player’s last name.

LHP Andrew Albers (North Battleford, Sask.) has signed a minor league deal with the Minnesota Twins. He is in big league camp this spring. He’ll reportedly earn $750,000 if he makes the big league roster.

RHP Chase Anderson has signed a one-year, $4-million deal with the Philadelphia Phillies, per Scott Lauber of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

RHP Anthony Bass has signed a two-year contract that guarantees him $5 million with the Miami Marlins, per Jon Heyman of the MLB Network. The deal includes a team option for 2023.

RHP Joe Biagini has signed a minor league deal with the Chicago Cubs, per Baseball America.

OF Socrates Brito has signed a minor league deal with the New York Yankees.

INF Andy Burns has signed a minor league deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers, per Baseball America.

Former Blue Jay Miguel Cairo will be the Chicago White Sox bench coach in 2021.

Former Blue Jays infielder Miguel Cairo was named bench coach of the Chicago White Sox.

RHP Andrew Case (Saint John, N.B.) has signed with the Quebec Capitales of the Frontier League. The 6-foot-2 righty became the first player to be signed out of Tournament 12 by the Toronto Blue Jays in 2013. He pitched parts of six seasons in the Blue Jays’ organization between 2014 and 2019, advancing as high as triple-A.

RHP Jesse Chavez has signed a minor league contract with the Los Angeles Angels, according to Jon Heyman of the MLB Network. The deal includes an invite to big league camp. Financial terms have not been disclosed.

RHP Tyler Clippard has signed a one-year, $2.25-million contract with the Arizona Diamondbacks, per Nick Piecoro of the Arizona Republic. According to Piecoro, the contract includes a $3.5-million mutual option or a $500,000 buyout for the 2022 season.

OF Jose Cruz Jr. was named to the Detroit Tigers big league coaching staff in December. He will serve primarily as an assistant hitting coach.

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.

RHP Chase De Jong (Blue Jays’ 2012 second-round pick) signed a minor league deal with the Pittsburgh Pirates.

LHP Matt Dermody has signed a one-year deal with the Seibu Lions of Nippon Professional Baseball in Japan, per Steve Adams of MLB Trade Rumors. Financial terms have not been disclosed. Earlier in the off-season, he had signed a minor league deal with the Cubs.

RHP Oliver Drake, who made two relief appearances for the Blue Jays in 2018, has re-signed with the Tampa Bay Rays, per Jon Heyman of the MLB Network. It’s a major league deal, but financial terms have not yet been disclosed.

INF/OF Brandon Drury has signed a minor league deal with the New York Mets. He will reportedly be paid $1.55 million if he cracks the big league roster this season, according to Jon Heyman of the MLB Network. With bonuses, he has a chance to make $2.05 million.

RHP Ken Giles, who will miss the 2021 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery, has signed a two-year contract with the Seattle Mariners. Financial terms have not been disclosed.

INF Ryan Goins has signed a minor league deal with the Atlanta Braves, per the MLB Transactions page of February 25.

RHP Kendall Graveman had his $3.5-million option declined by the Seattle Mariners, but then he re-signed with the club for a base salary of $1.5 million. The deal also includes performance bonuses that could make it worth $2.5 million.

RHP Javy Guerra, who made 11 relief appearances for the Blue Jays in 2019, has re-signed with the Washington Nationals on a minor league deal, per Baseball America.

Former Blue Jays bench coach DeMarlo Hale will replace ex-Montreal Expo Brad Mills as the Cleveland Indians’ bench coach in 2021.

LHP J.A. Happ has signed a one-year, $8-million contract with the Minnesota Twins, per Jon Heyman of the MLB Network.

INF Adeiny Hechavarria has signed with the Chiba Lotte Marines of Nippon Professional Baseball (NPB). It’s a one-year deal worth a reported $970,000.

RHP Jeff Hoffman, the Blue Jays’ first-round pick in 2014, was traded by the Colorado Rockies to the Cincinnati Reds on November 25 for RHP Robert Stephenson and OF Jameson Hannah.

RHP Drew Hutchison has signed a minor league deal with the Detroit Tigers, per Evan Woodbery of MLive.

RHP Jeremy Jeffress, who made 13 relief appearances for the Blue Jays in 2013 and 2014, has signed a minor deal with the Washington Nationals, per Mark Feinsand of MLB.com. The deal will pay him $1.25 million if he makes the big league club. It also includes another $1.25 million in potential performance bonuses.

C Caleb Joseph, who had a home run in eight at bats for the Blue Jays in 2020, has signed a split contract with the New York Mets, per Jon Morosi of Fox Sports. Financial terms were not disclosed, but a split contract generally means that a player will be paid an agreed upon amount if they make the big league club and a lower salary if they play in the minors.

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.

RHP Derek Law has signed a minor league deal with the Minnesota Twins.

RHP Dominic Leone has signed a minor league deal with the San Francisco Giants

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.

INF Christian Lopes (Blue Jays’ 2011 seventh-round pick) has signed a minor league deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks.

LHP Aaron Loup has signed a one-year, $3-million deal with the Mets, per Jon Heyman of the MLB Network. The deal also includes $250,000 in potential performance bonuses.

C Luke Maile has signed a one-year deal with the Milwaukee Brewers. Terms of the contract have not been disclosed.

OF Jake Marisnick, Blue Jays’ third-round pick in 2009, has signed a one-year major league contract with the Chicago Cubs. According to USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, the contract will pay Marisnick a base salary of $1 million in 2021. The deal also includes a mutual option for $4 million in 2022 with a $500,000 buyout.

C Jeff Mathis has signed a minor league deal with the Phillies. The deal, which was announced by the Phillies today, includes an invite to big league spring training.

RHP Deck McGuire has signed with the Rakuten Monkeys of the Chinese Professional Baseball League.

LHP Brian Moran, who appeared in two games for the Blue Jays in 2020, has signed a minor league deal with the Tampa Bay Rays.

RHP Brandon Morrow has signed a minor league deal with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

1B/3B Mitch Nay (Blue Jays’ 2012 first round (supplementary) pick) has signed a minor league deal with the Los Angeles Angels.

OF Connor Panas (Etobicoke, Ont.), a ninth-round pick of the Blue Jays in 2015, has signed with the Quebec Capitales of the Frontier League. He played parts of four seasons in the Blue Jays’ organization from 2015 to 2018. He advanced to triple in the San Diego Padres’ organization in 2019.

LHP Thomas Pannone has signed a minor league deal with the Angels.

RHP David Paulino, who made seven appearances for the Blue Jays in 2018, has signed a minor league deal with the Philadelphia Phillies, per Baseball America.

OF Kevin Pillar has signed a one-year deal with the Mets, per Mark Feinsand of MLB.com. Feinsand reports that the contract includes player and club options. You can read about them by clicking here.

RHP Aaron Sanchez has signed a one-year, $4-million contract with the San Francisco Giants, per Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. She writes that performances bonuses could make the deal worth $6.5 million.

INF Travis Shaw has signed a minor league deal with the Milwaukee Brewers, per Mark Feinsand of MLB.com. According to Feinsand, Shaw will make $1.5 million in 2021 and has the potential to earn $1.5 million more in performance bonuses if he makes the Brewers’ big league roster. The deal also includes a March 15 opt-out clause.

RHP Matt Shoemaker has signed a one-year, $2-million contract with the Twins, pending a physical per ESPN’s Jeff Passan. Passan shares that the contract includes a potential $250,000 in performance bonuses.

OF Dwight Smith Jr. has signed a minor league deal with the Cincinnati Reds.

1B Justin Smoak has signed with the Yomiuri Giants of Nippon Professional Baseball. ESPN’s Jeff Passan reports that the deal is worth between $6 and $7 million. (I’m assuming it’s a one-year contract).

OF Travis Snider has signed a minor league deal with the Atlanta Braves worth $600,000, per Jon Heyman of the MLB Network.

INF/OF Eric Sogard has signed a minor league deal with the Chicago Cubs, per ESPN’s Jesse Rogers. He’ll likely join the club’s big league camp.

RHP Ryan Tepera has re-signed with the Chicago Cubs. NBC Sports Gordon Wittenmyer shared that Tepera is guaranteed $800,000 for the 2021 season. MLB Trade Rumors reports that Tepera can also earn additional performance and active roster bonuses totalling $950,000.

OF-1B Eric Thames will join Smoak on the Yomiuri Giants. He has signed a one-year deal worth around $1.2 million.

INF Jonathan Villar has signed a one-year, $3.55-million deal with the New York Mets, per Jon Heyman of the MLB Network.

RHP Shun Yamaguchi has signed with the San Francisco Giants, according to Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. It’s unclear if it’s a major league or minor league deal, but Andrew Baggarly, of The Athletic, reports that Yamaguchi can opt out at the end of spring training if he doesn’t make the Giants.

Published by cooperstownersincanada

Kevin Glew is a professional writer based in London, Ontario. His work has been featured on CBC Sports, Sportsnet.ca, MLB.com and Sympatico.ca. He has also written articles for Baseball Digest, Baseball America, The Hockey News, Sports Market Report and the Canadian Baseball Network. He has been involved with the Canadian Baseball Hall of Fame for more than 16 years, including a two-year stint as the museum's acting curator.

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