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Things have gotten kind of slow around here so let's have some fun...

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Spring training games start this week, on Wednesday to be precise. I know the game is on MLB Network, a channel that I can get, and it's free for now. The Thursday and Friday games are on Sportsnet 1 and regular Sportsnet respectively. Saturdays game is on the radio and Sunday's is shown on MLB Network on a delay. If you can get the MLB Network and Sportsnet you can see lots of baseball this week.

Elsewhere there is not much to report, the Jays do not appear to be interested in any free agents, Scott Boras thinks Rogers is a cheap owner, and the Jays added another AAA pitcher in Liam Hendricks. That transaction leaves Brett Morel in the waiver dark-zone.

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My yearly bible finally found its way to my door! The Baseball America 2014 Prospect Handbook has compiled its top 30 prospects for all 30 major league teams. The Toronto Blue Jays farm system is right in the middle of the pack according to BA - ranking 15th out of 30 teams - a drop of three spots from 2013.



Mitch Nay made the biggest leap in the Top 30 rankings, jumping 20 spots from last year to rank as the Jays' fourth best prospect in 2014.
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Today was the first day of camp for pitchers and catchers. Sunday was physicals day and the pitchers will start their throwing programs tomorrow. The pitchers are alone for a few days until Thursday when position players are due to report. The first spring training game is a week from Wednesday, on the 26th.
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I have talked with some of my minor league contacts over the last few days to get updated on winter news before they head to Florida at the end of this week for spring training.  Here are some notes from those conversations.
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I have heard through my sources that the Blue Jays have signed a new player, a pitcher by the name of Godot. Not much is known about him but Alex Anthopoulos and John Gibbons are waiting outside the RC for him to arrive. They are confident that his arrival will change the fortunes of the team.
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Pitchers and catchers for the Blue Jays report on February 16th, two weeks from today. Football is over but there is no sign of spring in Ontario. After weeks of nothing happening will anything happen this week? Who knows.
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Tanaka is off the market, as is Matt Garza. That leaves two valuable starting pitchers who are still without a home for 2014. How long will it take for Ubaldo and Ervin to sign? Spring training starts in three weeks, unless you play for the Dodgers or Diamondbacks who start 2014 in Australia and as a result they start spring training a week early.

When will they sign? earlier this week AA suggested the signing could even go into March, mainly because of the draft pick compensation that is attached to both starters. I tend to think the players would get anxious to know where they are going but if their agents can make a strong case to wait they might do that. Do the Jays have the budget to sign one of these starters? Unless they sign one we may never know.

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The three-time Northwest League champion Vancouver Canadians will have a different look when they take to the field in 2014.

The Canadians - with the help of members from the UBC Thunderbirds baseball club - unveiled their new uniforms during its 4th annual luncheon at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver. The big changes are a new font, a new Mountie logo on the black jersey and the addition of a uniform number on the front of the jersey. The Blue Jays cap logo is now on the sleeves instead of the circular word logo that was used over the last two seasons. The C's had used the 1977 logo on the sleeves to mark its first year of affiliation with Toronto back in 2011.
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This should be the week that the Tanaka saga reaches the end. Tanaka must sign by Friday and there are suggestions today that his destination might be known by Wednesday so all the medicals and documentation can be completed in time.

There are several stories around the interwebs that claim to know what is happening. A couple of these stories have come from Japan. The Blue Jays have not been mentioned as being in the race, is that true or is it AA operating in secret? The stories suggest that Tanaka will sign a six year deal at $20M per season. Is that in the Jays budget and are the years do-able? Another story suggests that Tanaka s looking to play in a big city and/or for a winner. With a lot og big clubs bidding it seems like a long shot that Tanaka will come to Toronto. It would seem that the Jays would have to add a 7th year or go to say $22M per season (not couting the $3M per season going to Tanaka's club) to sign him. I am very doubtful that the Jays would do that.

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This off-season has been the slowest for Blue Jay news that I can remember.  The Navarro signing was months ago and since then there has been nothing.  Last winter AA was putting in a new waiver claim every week, this year just one.  The Tanaka affair seems to be holding up all free agent pitcher signings and we are just five weeks away from pitchers and catchers reporting. 

The Tanaka deadline is January 24th so I assume that Tanaka, Jimenez and Santana will all sign between January 24th and January 27th.  I don't see much happening before then. 

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2014 is here and the big question for Blue Jay fans is this: Will 2014 be better than 2013? This time last year AA had made some big moves and fans were expecting great things in 2013. This year AA has done little and fans are not as enthused as they were a year ago.
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This year Da Box lost Mick Doherty, a long time bauxite. In addition to his Hall of Names threads Mick was known for his Christmas Day post. Here I am reproducing Mick's last Christmas thread from 2011.

We ask this every year as Christmas comes (and if I read my watch right, in Toronto this year, that's in about 20 minutes!) so ...

What'djaget???

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It has been very quiet in Blue Jay land.  The expected influx of starting pitchers, second basemen and right hand hitting DH's has not materialised.  Will anything happen between now and the new year?  We can use this thread for the drip, drip, drip of the wait.

There are a couple of small items of news today, Monday.

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Baseball America released their annual Blue Jays Top 10 prospect list today.   
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