TORONTO -- The Blue Jays thought they were on the verge of signing Ervin Santana this spring, but it appears as though some creativity was going to be needed in order to get a deal done.
A report from FoxSports late Thursday night suggested several Blue Jays players were willing to defer payments on their contracts to help Toronto sign the sought-after pitcher. Blue Jays president Paul Beeston said on CBC Radio Friday morning "there was a discussion about that," but it wasn't immediately clear whether the idea came from the players or the front office.
The concept never became a reality, as Santana ended up signing a one-year contract with the Braves. Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos declined to go into detail about the situation.
"I know I have to respond to the story because I know it's out there, but I wouldn't really qualify it one way or the other just because it's specific to a negotiation that we had that ultimately didn't get done and I'd prefer not to get into specifics," Anthopoulos said.
The only thing Anthopoulos would confirm is that the Blue Jays had an agreement in place with Santana midway through Spring Training. That had long been assumed, but Friday marked the first time Anthopoulos offered confirmation.
The timeline is still a little bit murky, but several reports surfaced on March 8 that the Blue Jays were on the verge of signing Santana to a one-year contract worth approximately $14 million. One day later, Braves No. 1 starter Kris Medlen went down with an injury and all of a sudden another team entered the mix.
The belief for the past several weeks was that Santana backed out of a verbal agreement with the Blue Jays when an offer was presented by Atlanta. Anthopoulos has yet to come out and say those exact words, but he came pretty close prior to Friday's home opener vs. the Yankees.
"Our comments with respect to Santana is we felt we had an agreement in place," Anthopoulos said. "Things didn't develop that way, Atlanta had the injury on Sunday, and he preferred to go to the NL at that point, which was certainly his choice.
"We wish Ervin well, how we would have structured things, payments and things like that, those are things that we would keep in house regardless. I think the important thing to take away is that we had the ability to have him here. We felt we had an agreement in place. Save for Kris Medlen being hurt, I believe Ervin Santana would be here today."
Blue Jays call up Jenkins to bolster bullpen
TORONTO -- The Blue Jays have promoted right-hander Chad Jenkins from Triple-A Buffalo to provide some much-needed relief to the bullpen.
Toronto used five relievers to throw 6 1/3 innings during Friday night's 7-3 loss to the Yankees. That created the need for another reliever and Jenkins is the one coming up.
Jenkins often gets overlooked within the organization but has posted some very quality innings over the past couple of years. In 2013, he had a 2.70 ERA while striking out 15 batters over the course of 33 1/3 innings.
Jenkins, 26, has the ability to throw multiple innings and also could be used in a set-up role when Steve Delabar needs a day off. He had yet to pitch in the Minor Leagues this year.
To make room on the 25-man roster, right-hander Jeremy Jeffress was designated for assignment. Jeffress has caught the eye of scouts because of his ability to throw upper-90s velocity, but a lack of command has been his main issue.
Jeffress allowed four runs in 3 1/3 innings with the Blue Jays this season. He was out of options on his contract and could not be sent to the Minors without first clearing waivers.
Halladay returns for opener at Rogers Centre
TORONTO -- Roy Halladay was back on familiar territory Friday night as he threw out the ceremonial first pitch prior to the Blue Jays' home opener vs the Yankees.
It marked Halladay's first return to Rogers Centre since he officially retired in December following 16 years in the Major Leagues. He will go down as one of the all-time greats to wear the Blue Jays' uniform and ranks near the top of almost every major pitching category in franchise history.
Halladay went on to have a lot of success with the Phillies after being traded following the 2009 season, but he paid his respect to Toronto by signing a one-day contract during the offseason and officially retiring as a Blue Jay.
"I feel like I'm paying my respects to the fans," Halladay said of his return. "They were always very supportive and when I came back and pitched here after going to Philadelphia, get the welcome that I did, I honestly feel like I'm here to show my respect to the fans, but it's nice to hear the applause and be appreciated."
Halladay ranks second all-time in Blue Jays history with 148 wins, 1,495 strikeouts and 15 shutouts. He's also third with 2,246 2/3 innings, a 3.43 ERA and 287 starts.
For a stretch of eight years in Toronto, Halladay was easily regarded as one of the most dominant and consistent pitchers in the game. He defined baseball in the city during the early 2000s, and it's only a matter of time before he gets added to the club's Level of Excellence.
The one regret during Halladay's tenure in Toronto is that he never made the postseason. That changed when he went to the Phillies in 2010 and while there's still ties to both organizations Halladay made the decision to retire as a Blue Jay because it's the organization he grew up with.
"My roots are here, my roots are with the Blue Jays, and I really feel like this was a major almost...all my career, really," Halladay said. "I felt like this was the whole dinner, the whole meal, everything. Philly was the chocolate cake at the end. It really was the major part of my baseball career here, I really feel like this is where I belong, but I feel like in Philadelphia it was a nice treat so I really enjoyed being there. But this is where my roots really are."
Blue Jays assigned budget to sign Draftees
TORONTO -- The Blue Jays will have a total of $9,458,500 to spend on 11 picks in Major League Baseball's First-Year Player Draft this June.
Toronto's total draft-pool allotment ranks fourth in baseball. Miami ranks first with $14,199,300 to spend on 13 picks, and the White Sox second with $13,362,200 to spend on 11 picks.
The Blue Jays have the ninth and 11th picks in the first round. The first selection is because of where they finished in the standings, while the second is compensation for the club not signing last year's first-round pick, Phillip Bickford.
The Draft pools cover the top 10 rounds and any bonus money in excess of $100,000 given to players taken in rounds 11-40. If a player selected in the first 10 rounds doesn't sign, his assigned value is subtracted from his team's pool. There are penalties for exceeding Draft bonus pools.
The international bonus pools cover signings from July 2 through June 15 of the following year. Players who are at least 23 years old and have played in a professional league recognized by the Commissioner's Office (such as in Cuba or Japan) for a minimum of five seasons don't count against the pool, nor do players who sign for $10,000 or less.
Clubs are penalized for exceeding their allotments for international players, but not as harshly as they are with the Draft. Any overage is taxed at a 100-percent rate. In addition, teams can't sign a player in the next signing period for more than $500,000 if they surpass their pool by more than five percent and up to 10 percent; can't sign a player in the next signing period for more than $300,000 if they go over by more than 10 percent and up to 15 percent; and can't sign a player in the next two signing periods for more than $300,000 if they exceed their allotment by more than 15 percent.