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Blue Jays say hello to four international free agents, goodbye to the Vancouver Canadians and John Lott

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The sun sets on Nat Bailey Stadium, home of the Toronto Blue Jays’ short-season A affiliate Vancouver Canadians during a game on July 15, 2019.
The sun sets on Nat Bailey Stadium, home of the Toronto Blue Jays’ short-season A affiliate Vancouver Canadians during a game on July 15, 2019.
Minor Leaguer

According to’s Keegan Matheson, the Blue Jays have signed four international free agents, all pitchers, to minor league contracts. The signings of lefties Kendry Rojas and Johan Simon and righty Geison Urbaez appeared on the official transactions list on October 14 (one day before the international free agent signing period ended) while right-hander Jeury Hiciano’s deal was announced yesterday.

The 17-year-old Cuban Rojas was reported by Yordano Carmona at Pelota Cubana to have signed for a $200,000 bonus—in that piece his name was spelled “Kendri Yoelbis Rojas”. He is already 6’3 and his fastball clocks in at 92 mph.

Our friend over at Future Blue Jays has more on the Blue Jays’ international signings.

In the San Francisco Chronicle, Susan Slusser revealed that the Oakland Athletics will be moving its class-A affiliate from the Midwest League’s Beloit to Vancouver, meaning that the Blue Jays’ affiliation with the Canadians will cease. This move was largely anticipated as it has been long reported that the major realignment of Minor League Baseball, which includes the folding of some 40 teams, will cut the Canadians and the Bluefield Blue Jays from Toronto’s farm system.

The exact shape of the Blue Jays’ minor league system, and the location of their various affiliates, in 2021 (assuming there will be a season) is still unknown.

Lastly, John Lott announced his retirement today. Long-time Blue Jays would have remembered that he joined the beat with the National Post before before being let go and moving over to the nascent online outlet The Athletic.

Lott’s pieces set a seemingly impossibly high standard for the entire Blue Jays beat and I believe that his high-caliber work made everyone else on the beat better, all at the benefit of us Blue Jays fans. He broke news and wrote some of the most incredible features, but it was his game stories that always had me in awe. Even for the most ho-hum games he was able to craft a narrative and sprinkle in the right quotes and facts to make it an interesting read. Despite what he wrote in his retirement story, he was an accomplished photographer as well, and I especially enjoy seeing his shots from Dunedin during spring training.

He has certainly given enough for king and country. John, I wish you a good retirement where you can spend more time with your family and enjoy games again as a baseball fan.