Blue Jays to field most Canadian roster in team history

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The Blue Jays opened their purse strings in a big way on Monday, agreeing to terms with Russell Martin on a five-year, $82 million free agent contract.

Martin was born just outside Toronto and grew up in Montreal, which might have served as a factor in the club’s aggressive approach to signing him. You know, marketing and all that. Here’s an interesting note from Brendan Kennedy of the Toronto Star

Considered among the top free agents in this year’s class, Martin will become the 21st Canadian to play for the Jays. But he is easily the most high profile and is set to lead the most Canadian Jays’ team in franchise history.

Never before has the club boasted more than one Canadian position player in the starting lineup, and next year they could have three in Martin, Langley, B.C.-native Brett Lawrie and Mississauga’s Dalton Pompey.

Kennedy says the Blue Jays have been trying to stir country-wide interest in the club “more than ever in recent years” with a Winter Tour through the Canadian provinces, more of an emphasis on the maple leaf in hat and uniform logos, and by celebrating Canada Day with a matinee game at Rogers Centre. They’ve also begun playing preseason games at Olympic Stadium in Montreal, and those have been a tremendous success.

Royals, Alex Gordon close to contract agreement

Alex Gordon
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MLB.com’s Jeffrey Flanagan reports that the Royals and outfielder Alex Gordon are “getting close” to an agreement on a one-year contract. Terms of the deal aren’t yet known, but the Royals could make it official within the next few days.

Gordon, who turns 36 years old next month, hit .266/.345/.396 with 13 home runs and 76 RBI over 633 plate appearances with the Royals this past season. His offense has waned, owning an adjusted OPS of 84 since 2016 (100 is average), but he still plays decent defense.

Gordon has spent all 13 years of his major league career with the Royals. With the club in a rebuilding phase, he will serve as the clubhouse leader and be a mentor to younger players on the roster.